From the great depths of the Mariana Trench to the peaceful waves of the Caribbean Sea, the ocean is one of the Earth’s most extraordinary ecosystems. The ocean is home to many creatures and protects some of the world’s largest mammals. For World Water Day, let’s look at the world’s oceans and explore some of the most exciting and fun facts about the ocean.
The Oceans of the World
Did you know that the Earth’s ocean covers 71% of the planet’s surface? Not only that, but the ocean contains an estimated 96.5% of all the water on Earth.
But what are the oceans of the world? Technically, there is only one ocean of the world. However, to make things simpler, scientists prefer to divide the ocean into five distinct sections:
- The Pacific Ocean
- The Atlantic Ocean
- The Indian Ocean
- The Arctic Ocean
- The Southern Oceans
The oceans are divided by shorelines and land masses.
Just How Big are the Oceans?
Very big! The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the five oceans, while the Arctic is the smallest ocean in the world. Below is an estimated number for how much area each ocean covers:
- The Pacific Ocean: 168,723,000 square kilometers. The Pacific Ocean covers roughly 46.6% of the world’s oceans and is over half the size of the second-largest ocean.
- The Atlantic Ocean: The Atlantic covers an estimated 85,133,000 square kilometers. This ocean is narrower than the Pacific Ocean and recognizable from its “S” shape on the map.
- The Indian Ocean: The Indian Ocean covers 70,560,000 square kilometers and accounts for about 19.5% of the ocean. This ocean has an average depth of 100 meters. It is home to the world’s second-largest trench, known as the Java Trench, which reaches 7,450 meters.
- The Southern Ocean: This ocean covers an estimated 21,960,000 square kilometers, 6.1% of the global ocean. The Pacific Ocean is an estimated seven times larger than the Southern Ocean.
- The Arctic Ocean: The Arctic is the smallest ocean in the world. It covers an estimated 15,558,000 square kilometers, about 4.3% of the global ocean. The Arctic Ocean is in the north polar region. It is less deep than the other oceans, with an average depth of 1,205 meters.
What is the Deepest Part of the Ocean?
The deepest part of the five oceans is in the Challenger Deep. It is beneath the Pacific Ocean within the Mariana Trench. On average, the ocean reaches 12,100 feet or 3,688 meters. The Challenger Deep far exceeds this number. It reaches a whopping 35,876 feet, or 10,935 meters, deep.
How Much of the Ocean Have We Explored?
Less than 10% of the global ocean has been explored and mapped. People frequently claim that this number is closer to 5%. The ocean and coastal waters in the United States have been mapped through modern methods. Only about 35% have been explored thoroughly.
But why is the number so low despite so many technological advances? Ultimately, specifically-tailored technology and expensive underwater vehicles have made exploring difficult. Researchers typically use sonar technologies to map the global ocean. Without other solutions, it will take some time until we’ve explored every inch of the great blue ocean.
What Creatures Live in the Ocean?
More than you might imagine and likely more than science is currently aware of. Scientists have identified an estimated 240,000 species living in the ocean. While impressive, this number barely scratches the surface of the ocean’s wonders.
Researchers believe that about 91% of marine species in the global ocean are not classified. That means that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of unclassified species are waiting to be discovered!
What is the Largest Creature Living in the Ocean? The largest creature known to scientists inhabiting the ocean is the blue whale. It also happens to be the largest animal known to have lived on Earth.
Why is the Ocean so Important to the World?
The importance of the Earth’s oceans is far reaching. It contributes to Earth in ways you may not recognize. Let’s explain why the ocean is crucial to the world and why we can’t live without the deep blue sea.
The Ocean Helps Regulate the Global Climate
The ocean plays a significant role in regulating global climate. It absorbs large amounts of solar radiation, helping moderate surface temperatures on land. The ocean also helps to regulate the global water cycle by storing heat and moisture. This reduction helps moderate temperatures by reducing the risk of extreme weather events.
The Ocean Provides a Vital Food Source
The ocean is a significant food source for humans and other species. Over 3 billion people rely on the ocean as their primary source of protein. Seafood is the largest traded food worldwide. Fish, shellfish, and other marine life are staples in many cultures.
The Ocean is Home to Crucial Plants and Animals
The ocean is home to many plants and animals, many of which are still undiscovered. These species are essential to maintaining the ecosystem’s delicate balance. They provide food, medicines, and other resources. The ocean is also home to many species of whales and dolphins, which play a crucial role in the ocean’s health.
The Ocean is a Valuable Energy Source
The ocean is a precious source of energy for many countries around the world. Waves contain excessive energy levels. The estimated annual energy potential for waves, off the US coast, can reach 2.64 trillion kilowatt-hours. Equal to 64% of the US utility-scale electricity generation measured in 2021.
Because of this, researchers have set their sites on potential areas where wave energy can be harnessed and converted to electricity. These energy sources are more environmentally friendly than traditional sources. They can help reduce the effects of climate change.
The Ocean Serves as an Oxygen Supply
The ocean not only contributes to our energy supply but significantly influences the global oxygen supply as well. Specifically, algae and phytoplankton are integral contributors to the global oxygen supply. They populate the ocean’s surface layer. Photosynthetic plankton produce more significant amounts of oxygen than most other sources. About half of our oxygen is from the ocean.
The Ocean is a Source of Recreation
The ocean is a primary source of recreation for many people around the world. People often visit the ocean to swim, surf, snorkel, and more. These activities provide much-needed relaxation and recreation. They also help foster a connection with nature.
Fun Facts About Oceans for Kids
Think you’ve exhausted everything there is to know about the ocean? Not quite! Below are a few more fun facts about oceans for kids that demonstrate how incredible the global ocean is to our world.
- The deepest part of the ocean, located in the Mariana Trench, is deeper than Mount Everest is tall!
- Not only is the ocean deep, but it’s also wide. The Pacific Ocean alone covers one-third of the Earth’s surface!
- The ocean is full of fascinating creatures. Did you know that the giant squid can reach up to 13 meters? That’s longer than a school bus!
- Some ocean animals have superpowers. Take the cuttlefish, for example. Did you know these incredible animals can change their color instantly? That’s right, they can change their color to match their surroundings!
- There are many types of ocean habitats. From the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean to the icy waters of the Arctic Sea, each habitat is home to its unique set of animals.
- The ocean is full of different types of plants too. Kelp forests, for example, are made up of giant seaweed plants that can grow up to 53 meters tall!
Celebrate World Water Day With Fun Facts About Oceans
The ocean is home to some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. There are endless fun facts you can discover about the mysteries of the deep blue sea. This vast and mysterious ecosystem is crucial to the Earth. It is important to learn about.