What If All Water on Earth Froze in a Second
You jump up in surprise and hear a neighbor screaming behind the wall. He’s probably taking a shower. You pull the handle, but the water doesn’t flow. Then you notice a thick layer of ice sticks out of the tap. It looks like an icicle.
You go to the kitchen and take a jug of water, but you can’t pour any into a glass. The water’s frozen. The same thing happens with the kettle. You can hear the pipes roaring. All the water in the city has frozen, and this has led to a water supply collapse. The water’s flowing freely through winding pipes. It’s going up, down, and to the sides through a complex sewer system.
Then, it turns into ice and expands. Plastic and metal pipes can’t stand it. They pop and tear apart. If the water becomes liquid again, the city will be instantly flooded. All sewage water will accumulate underground and rise. But now, the water has frozen in a few seconds, so millions of tons of ice lie under the streets.
This is happening all over the world, and no one knows the reason for it. Even in the tropical jungles of the Amazon and in the African savannas, all lakes, rivers, and ponds have frozen despite the high air temperature. The huge amount of ice lowers the temperature of the entire planet. It gets cooler in the parched deserts, and it gets even colder in the North.
You turn on the kettle to melt the water, but it doesn’t work. A hydroelectric power plant that feeds the city has broken down and disconnected people from electricity. You go outside and see scared people who can’t take a sip from frozen bottles. The city fountain has turned into an ice sculpture. The lake in the park is an ice rink where you can play hockey.
You’re shivering because it has quickly become cold outside. Several people make a bonfire in the city square and put bottles next to it. This helps to melt the water. You decide to warm up by the fire and watch the news on your phone. All the waterfalls of the planet look as if they are frozen in time.
Right now, the ships sailing in the seas and oceans are stuck. To get to the shore, people need to hollow out thousands of miles of ice. This is impossible, so helicopters with rescuers fly to their side to save the sailors. A small piece of ice falls on the screen of your phone and leaves a scratch. An icy rain begins. Drops of various shapes and sizes fall to the ground and break like glass.
All the people are hiding under the roofs. All the animals are running under the trees. Icy rain hits the ground, scratches cars, and breaks windows. When it ends, a collapse begins. Sharp ice floes crunch under your feet. Cars can’t drive normally. Traffic jams form on the roads.
At the moment when the water froze, many surfers were catching waves on the coast of many countries. Here’s one of them rowing to a big wave, standing on the surfboard. The wave rises, twists, and... freezes. At a huge speed, the surfer slides on the ice and falls. He looks at the frozen ocean and goes home to put on his skates.
Fishing has stopped all over the world. To catch a fish, you need to drill the ice and carefully remove the frozen fish. All the sea creatures are alive. They are simply in cryogenic sleep. Every day, rescuers pull out people stuck in the ice. Imagine you’re swimming, and everything around you freezes. You can’t move. It’s nearly impossible to breathe. Your head is now covered with an ice crust.
All you can do is scream and move your facial muscles. You spend hours calling for help and waiting for rescuers to take you out from the ice. Cargo transportation on huge ships has stopped. Import and export of various goods and natural resources are impossible now. This causes a shortage of fuel in some countries since oil can’t be delivered quickly by ship. Other countries don’t get enough vegetables and fruits. This causes high prices for many things, and the world economy becomes unstable.
People buy all the home heaters to melt water in bottles. The water supply is broken, and everybody goes outside with buckets to collect pieces of icy rain falling from the sky. At home, they melt liquid in iron buckets. This is impossible in your city since the work of the hydroelectric power station still isn’t restored. You and other residents create bonfires right on the streets to melt ice.
Meanwhile, a real catastrophe is going on in the seas and oceans. Seaweed and phytoplankton absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. More than 50% of the fresh air on earth is provided thanks to this process. Now, everything is frozen, and oxygen production is suspended. After a few months, people will begin to notice they have breathing problems. More and more carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere. Because of this, the blue sky turns gray.
The rain doesn’t feed the forests and jungles anymore. It destroys them. Trees, leaves, and plants are torn under the ice drops. The harvest is spoiling. People are running out of food supplies all over the world. Volcanoes emit a lot of carbon dioxide and heat. It can thaw all the frozen water, but it will take millions of years.
The earth’s temperature has dropped, which slows down the melting. Only on the coasts of the southern countries does the ice slowly begin to melt. But this is not enough to save the planet from disaster. The most destructive processes occur not on the water but on the land. Cities located at the foot of the hills and mountain villages are being evacuated. Residents take their things and leave their houses as far away as possible because lakes and rivers are flowing inside many mountains and underground.
And when all this water freezes, it begins to expand inside the underground channels. The same happened to the city pipes. When everything starts to collapse inside the mountain, a landslide begins. Rocks and mountains roll down onto small towns. Earthquakes carry trees and houses underground. This is happening all over the planet.
To escape from the icy rains, people create umbrellas of light metal. If you decide to go outside in bad weather, you need to wear headphones or earplugs because the ringing of falling ice on the metal umbrella is deafening. It’s necessary to protect plants and crops from ice. People put huge transparent domes over farms and fields.
The domes are equipped with transparent high-strength fabric. Ice pieces don’t break through it but remain on the dome. When the sun begins to melt the ice, it seeps through the grid and waters the ground. Scientists create super-powerful electric stations and install them at different spots of the ocean. The stations are equipped with big drills that make a long tunnel into the ocean depths.
Then, a powerful nuclear reactor is placed there. It’s covered with a protective shield to avoid radiation entering the water. The reactor starts working and melts the water around. When a huge amount of water is melted, the reactor is removed from the ocean. Then, the warm water begins to heat the frozen water.
These processes take decades. While the seas are melting, people in cities are reinstalling sewage systems. First, a powerful heater is placed inside each house, which slowly melts the ice. Then, plumbers replace the broken pipes with new ones. The global temperature is slowly recovering.
But icy rains continue to fall. To solve this problem, scientists synthesize a harmless chemical reagent. Every day, supersonic planes fly through rain clouds and spray the substance that turns small ice floes into water drops. The freezing water in the rocks slowly melts, and this provokes new landslides.
To escape from earthquakes, seismologists create a scanner that monitors the activity of underground water. The scanner processes data on the ice and ground temperatures and the density of air and soil and creates an earthquake model. People can find out in advance when the disaster will begin.