Read the following passage and answer the questions.
Ocean water plays an indispensable role in supporting life. The great ocean basins hold about 300 million cubic miles of water.
From this vast amount, about 80,000 cubic miles of water is sucked into the atmosphere each year by evaporation and returned by precipitation and drainage to the ocean. More than 24,000 cubic miles of rain descend annually upon the continents.This vast amount is required to replenish the lakes and streams, springs and water tables on which all flora and fauna are dependent.Thus, the hydrosphere permits organic existence.
The hydrosphere has strange characteristics because water has properties unlike those of any other liquid. One anomaly is that water upon freezing expands by about
9 per cent, whereas most liquids contract on cooling. For this reason, ice floats on water bodies instead of sinking to the bottom. If the ice sank, the hydrosphere would soon be frozen solidly, except for thin layer of surface-melt water during the summer season. Thus, all aquatic life would be destroyed and the interchange of warm and cold currents, which moderates climate would be notably absent.
Another outstanding characteristic of water is that water has a heat capacity which is the highest of all liquids and solids except ammonia. This characteristic enables the oceans to absorb and store vast quantities of heat, thereby often preventing climatic extremes. In addition, water dissolves more substances than any other liquid. It is this characteristic which helps make oceans a great storehouse for minerals which have been washed down from the continents. In several areas of the world these minerals are being commerically exploited. Solar evaporation of salt is widely practised, potash is extracted from the Dead Sea, and magnesium is produced from sea water along the American Gulf Coast.
Ocean water plays an indispensable role in life because: