How Many Oceans Are There WORK
How many oceans are there, exactly? You may receive different answers depending on the source. For many countries and oceanographers, the answer will be four, based solely on the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and Indian.
how many oceans are there
According to the United States, there are five subdivided ocean basins, including the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Indian, and Southern, previously known as the Antarctic. These five oceans hold 97% of the water on the planet.
The smallest of the five oceans, the Arctic Ocean covers over six million square miles, with a coastline reaching close to 30,000 miles. The Arctic Ocean has a maximum depth of 18,456 feet and is the shallowest of the five oceans.
The Arctic is farther north than the other four oceans and its floor is home to natural gas and petroleum fields. Climate change has resulted in extreme warming trends in the Arctic. In the past few years alone, researchers have discovered a considerable decrease in ice cover.
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While there is only one global ocean, the vast body of water that covers 71 percent of the Earth is geographically divided into distinct named regions. The boundaries between these regions have evolved over time for a variety of historical, cultural, geographical, and scientific reasons.
Historically, there are four named oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic. However, most countries - including the United States - now recognize the Southern (Antarctic) as the fifth ocean. The Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian are the most commonly known.
As opposed to the other four oceans, the Southern Ocean is not defined by the continents surrounding it. Instead, it is defined by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) flowing from west to east, which is a main feature of the Antarctic region. ACC waters, as well as the vast majority of the Southern Ocean, are colder and less salty than the waters to the north. It was only because of these distinctions that the Southern Ocean was able to differentiate itself from others. As a result, it was officially designated as the fifth ocean.
There are three land masses surrounding the Indian Ocean, which are Africa, Asia, and Australia, which enclose it on three sides. There is a monsoon type of climate that prevails in the Indian Ocean region. During the summer season, cyclones are a common occurrence. It is also worth noting that this ocean is the warmest in the world as well. As a result of the warm tropical waters of the ocean, there exists a rich ecosystem in the area. An abundant phytoplankton population and aquatic flora enable a complex food chain to grow. Most of the fish caught in the Indian Ocean are exported to markets around the world, including tuna and shrimp.
As surrounded by water as we are, it's strange that we know so little about the world oceans. For instance, we have yet to map over 85 percent of the ocean floor to the same resolution we've mapped the surface of Venus, we've only discovered about a third of the marine life lurking in the world's oceans and we can't account for most of the trillions of tons of plastic that's ended up in the world's oceans.
Humans have gotten into the habit of separating the one big, continuous, mysterious body of water that covers the globe into principle sectors that we call oceans. Historically, there were just four oceans, but we now recognize five different oceans: the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the recently added fifth ocean, the Southern Ocean.
There are no real barriers between the world's oceans like there are with landmasses, mostly because bodies of water are often what we use to create geographical boundaries. Just like an island's borders are drawn by water, continents mostly use oceans to describe their boundaries. There is only one global ocean, and yet we have to make distinctions between areas, for geography's sake.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of the five oceans, its waters covering more than 30 percent of the globe and holding more than half of the world's above-ground water. The Pacific covers 60 million square miles (155 million square kilometers), which is larger than the area of all the continents combined. Challenger Deep, the deepest spot in any ocean anywhere on Earth, is in the Pacific Ocean's ultra deep Mariana Trench.
With an area of 27,243,000 square miles (70,560,000 square kilometers), the Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceans and the only ocean that is enclosed on three sides. Bordered by Africa, Asia and Australia, the Indian Ocean opens to the Southern Ocean, where it exchanges waters with the much colder body of water. In fact, there is no agreement among cartographers about exactly where the Indian Ocean ends and the Southern ocean begins, but it's generally considered to be around the latitude 60 degrees S.
Unlike most oceans, the Southern Ocean is separated from its neighbors by a current rather than by landmasses. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the strongest ocean current on the planet, carrying up to 182 million cubic meters of water every second. Spinning from west to east around the continent of Antarctica, its flow separates the Southern Ocean from the saltier waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian, carrying more than 100 times the flow of all the rivers on Earth.
The Arctic Ocean is a tiny, shallow ocean, compared to its giant friends. At 5,427,000 square miles (14,056,000 square kilometers), it accounts for about 4 percent of the Earth's surface area. The Arctic Ocean is the coldest of all the oceans, mostly because a large portion of it remains covered in ice year-round.
The first way is by looking at how the Ocean is split into three by the large land masses of the Americas, Africa and Oceania. Using this system, the named oceans are the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
What about seas like the Mediterranean Sea or the Red Sea? They are actually just parts of the larger oceans. The Mediterranean Sea is part of the Atlantic Ocean as it is connected through the Straits of Gibraltar and the Red Sea is part of the Indian Ocean.
Oceans for beginners ages 5-7 unit is a cross-curricular KS1 teacher resource. Students go on a three-part journey where they realise the awe of oceans, how important they are, and the dangers they face.
Oceans for beginners ages 7-11 unit is a cross-curricular KS2 teacher resource. Students go on a three-part journey where they realise the awe of oceans, how important they are, and the dangers they face.
Oceans for beginners ages 11-14 unit is a cross-curricular KS3 teacher resource. Students go on a three-part journey where they realise the awe of oceans, how important they are, and the dangers they face.
Oceans for beginners ages 14-16 unit is cross-curricular KS4 teacher resource. Students go on a three-part journey where they realise the awe of oceans, how important they are, and the dangers they face.
The ocean is a massive body of saline water that covers approximately 72% of the Earth's surface. According to NOAA, there is only one Global Ocean. However, this ocean has been divided into distinct named geographic regions by countries and oceanographers. Today, most nations including the United States recognizes five ocean basins, namely Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern. Together, they hold around 97% of the water found on Earth and significantly influence global weather patterns and food supply chains. The ocean houses a plethora of marine organisms ranging from marine microbes to the world's largest animal, the blue whale. However, although the ocean plays a major role in sustaining life on Earth, we have explored or mapped only about 20% of the ocean. The rest remains a mystery.
Like other oceans of the world, climate change threatens to adversely affect the marine ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean. As per research, the Arctic might become ice-free by 2040. This transformation would load the Arctic with large volumes of meltwater and affect the ocean currents prevailing in the region. These alterations would, in turn, cause a drastic change in the global climate.
These oceans are classed as distinct because they encompass a distinct ecological region defined by ocean currents and temperatures, are almost enclosed by continents, or simply because of cultural or political considerations.
Although scientists have been referring to the icy waters around Antarctica as the Southern Ocean for many years, cartographers officially recognized it as unique only very recently, on June 8, 2021 (World Ocean Day). But the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) had tried to settle the debate much earlier, through a 2000 publication that declared, named, and demarcated the Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean.
The Atlantic is one of the youngest oceans, having formed long after the Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans during the Triassic Period. Its name is derived from Greek mythology, the word Atlantikos meaning the Sea of Atlas, where Atlas was a titan responsible for standing on the edge of the world and holding up the heavens on his shoulders.
Most other oceans are defined by the continents that border them. For instance, the Atlantic is bound by the Americas to the west and by Europe and Africa to the east. But the Southern Ocean is primarily defined by its currents, such as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which flows from west to east around the icy continent. Inside this current, the waters are much colder and slightly less salty than the oceans further to the north.
Much like we classified the continents, oceans are designated based on geographical and physical criteria, but also on political and cultural considerations. As such, the boundaries that separate these bodies of water are arbitrary, largely defined by the continents that frame them. Water properties, ocean currents, and biological populations are not necessarily constrained by these boundaries, although they may be distinct to one or more regions of the World Ocean. But, for now, until the continents finish their next big move or until ocean scientists discover something world-changing, we recognize 5 oceans. 041b061a72