The surface of Planet Earth is around 70% water, over 96% of which is salt water. While this vast area is mostly interconnected, it is broken up into large and small bodies by the seven continents and other landmasses. The largest of these bodies are known as the Great Oceans.
The oceans of Earth are unique in our Solar System. No other planet in our Solar System has liquid water (although recent finds on Mars indicate that Mars may have had some liquid water in the recent past). Life on Earth originated in the seas, and the oceans continue to be home to an incredibly diverse web of life.
The oceans of Earth serve many functions, especially affecting the weather and temperature. They moderate the Earth’s temperature by absorbing incoming solar radiation (stored as heat energy). The always-moving ocean currents distribute this heat energy around the globe. This heats the land and air during winter and cools it during summer. The Earth’s oceans are all connected to one another. Until the year 2000, there were four recognized oceans: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic. In the Spring of 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization delimited a new ocean, the Southern Ocean ,it surrounds Antarctica and extends to 60 degrees latitude.
The Oceans :
Pacific Ocean :
The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean covering more than 30% of the Earth. This is close to half of the water on Earth. It touches the west coast border of the Americas along with east Asia and Australia.
Atlantic Ocean :
The Atlantic Ocean is situated between the Americas and European/African continents. The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest and saltiest ocean in the world. The ocean bottom is composed of mid-Atlantic Ridge. This submarine mountain range extends all the way from Iceland to 58 degrees South latitude. It’s part of the longest mountain range in the world.
Indian Ocean :
The Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean surrounding a densely populated region. It contains an additional 20% of the water on Earth’s surface. It borders India in the North, East Africa, Australia, and the Southern Ocean. Because of the higher water temperature, it has limited marine life.
Southern Ocean :
In 2000, the Southern Ocean is the newest ocean recognized by the International Hydrographic Organization. It borders Antarctica in its entirety. In terms of size, it’s the fourth-largest at 20,327,000 square kilometers. It extends out to 60 degrees South latitude. It’s an extreme environment and is the least understood of the 5 oceans. This is because it is unexplored, far from populated areas, and has a severe climate.
Arctic Ocean :
The Arctic Ocean is the world’s smallest and shallowest ocean of all 5 oceans. Further to this, it is the coldest and least salty ocean. In size, the Arctic Ocean is about the size of Russia. Because it’s located at the North Pole, the Arctic Ocean has polar ice. But over the years, glaciers have melted threatening sea levels to rise.
Facts About The Oceans :
The Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest ocean and contains around 25,000 islands.
With 25,000 islands lying within it, the Pacific Ocean has more islands than anywhere else on the planet.
The majority of life on Earth is aquatic.
As so much of the Earth’s surface is underwater, it comes as no surprise that marine species outnumber those on land. But, it’s an incredible 94 per cent of the Earth’s living species that exist within the oceans.
Over 70 per cent of our planet’s oxygen is produced by the ocean.
It’s thought that between 70 and 80 per cent of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine plants, nearly all of which are marine algae.
The world’s longest mountain chain is underwater.
Earth’s longest chain of mountains, the Mid-Ocean Ridge, is almost entirely beneath the ocean, stretching across a distance of 65,000 kilometres. It’s said that this mountain chain is less explored than the surface of Venus or Mars.
Our oceans cover more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface.
With so much of the Earth’s surface taken up by ocean, it’s evident how vital these marine environments are to the planet, and how much there still is to be explored.