Water And Oceanography

A Guide to the Earths Oceans

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"A Guide to the Earths Oceans"
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You may remember learning in school that the Earth has four oceans. But, in early 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization "reorganized" the earth's ocean mapping, and now, there are five oceans. Ocean water covers 129,443,784 square miles of the earth's surface. The five recognized oceans are the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean.


The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the five oceans, and is named by the Portugese navigator Ferdinand Magellan. It covers about 60 million square miles, which is more than the entire land area of the entire world, and about 15 times the size of the United States. The Pacific Ocean supplies the world with many natural resources, including oil, gas, fish, sand, polymetallic nodules and pearls. Ports located in the Pacific Ocean are in Thailand, Taiwan, Los Angeles, the Phillippines, South Korea, San Francisco, Seattle, China, Australia, Russia, New Zealand, and Japan.

Bodies of water encompassing the Pacific Ocean include the Bali Sea, the Bering Sea, the Bering Strait, the Coral Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, the East China See, the Gulf of Tonkin, the Philippine Sea, the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, the South China Sea, and the Tasman Sea.


The Atlantic Ocean is second largest, and is the body of water located between North and South America and Africa and Europe. It is known for heavy sea traffic, with major trade routes frequently crossing between the Eastern and Western Hemisphere. Ports and Harbors are located in many cities, including Spain, Argentina, Panama, Germany, Spain, France, New Orleans, New York, Russia, Greece, Brazil, and Sweden.

Bodies of water encompassing the Atlantic Ocean include the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Caribbean Sea, the Davis Strait, the Denmark Straight, the Drake Passage, the Gulf of Mexico, the Labrador Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the Scotia Sea.


The third largest ocean is the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean faces environmental issues from pollution of the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea. Ports are located in India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Indonesia, India, Australia (Melbourne), and Bombay.
Bodies of water encompassing the Indian Ocean include the Andaman Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Flores Sea, the Great Australian Bight, the Gulf of Oman, the Mozambique Channel, the Java Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Savu Sea, the Timor Sea, and the Strait of Malacca.


Depending how you look at it, the Southern Ocean is the earth's second smallest or fourth largest ocean. It takes of the area of the earth from Antarctica to sixty degrees south latitude. The lowest point in the Southern Ocean is 7,235 feet deep, in the South Sandwich Trench. Because of ice conditions, only two ports exist in the Southern Sea, and their use is limited.

Bodies of water encompassing the Southern Ocean include the Amundsen Sea, the Bellingshausen Sea, the Ross Sea, and a portion of the Drake Passage.


The smallest ocean is the Arctic Ocean. It covers an area just a little bit less than 1.5 times the area of the United States. Some oceanographers prefer to call it the Arctic Sea, and classify it as one of the Mediterranean seas of the Atlantic Ocean, but the International Hydrographic Organization classifies it as an ocean. The essential ports of the Arctic Ocean include the Russian cities Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, Manitoba (Canada, and Prudhoe Bay (Alaska, USA). The Arctic Ocean contains the Siberian Shelf, the world's largest continental shelf.

Bodies of water encompassing the Arctic Ocean include the Baffin Bay, the Barents Sea, the Beaufort Sea, the Chukchi Sea, the East Siberian Sea, the Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, the Kara Sea, the Northwest Passage, and the Laptey Sea.

To find out more information how you can help preserve, protect and restore the world's oceans, visit www.saveourseas.org.

More about this author: Val Ashton

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