Facts and Basics
are some basic facts and information regarding the ocean as a
(from Okeanos, a Greek god of sea and water) covers almost three
quarters (71%) of the surface of the Earth.
- This global, interconnected body of salt water, called the
World Ocean, is divided by the continents and archipelagos into
five bodies, from the largest to the smallest: the Pacific Ocean,
the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and
the Arctic Ocean. Official boundaries are defined by the International
Hydrographic Organization; the Southern Ocean, though long recognized
in maritime tradition, was officially sanctioned only in 2000,
and is unique in being defined only by a line of latitude with
no landmass boundaries.
- Oceanographers, however, may recognize only
four oceans, treating
the Arctic Ocean (or the Arctic Sea) as a part of the Atlantic
- Smaller regions of the oceans are called seas, gulfs,
straits and other names.
- The area
of the World Ocean is 361 million km², its volume
is 1370 million km³, and its average depth is 3790 m. This
does not include seas not connected to the World Ocean, such
as the Caspian Sea.
- The total
mass of the hydrosphere is about 1.4 × 1021 kg,
ca. 0.023 % of the Earth's total mass.
Ocean and Climate
- One of the
most dramatic forms of weather occurs over the oceans: tropical
(also called "typhoons" and "hurricanes" depending
upon where the system forms).
- Ocean currents greatly affect Earth's
climate by transferring warm or cold air and precipitation
to coastal regions, where they may be carried inland by winds.
Antarctic Circumpolar Current encircles that continent, influencing
the area's climate and connecting currents in several oceans.
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