World Ocean
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World Ocean
World Ocean
Earth in True Color - Rosetta.jpg
The image by Rosetta shows mostly a part of the Water Hemisphere, with Indian Ocean at the left and Pacific at the right
Surface area361,132,000 km2 (139,434,000 sq mi)
Average depth3,688 m (12,100 ft)
Max. depth10,911 m (35,797 ft)
Water volume1,332,000,000 km3 (320,000,000 cu mi)
IslandsLists of islands
Animated map exhibiting the world's oceanic waters. A continuous body of water encircling Earth, the World Ocean is divided into a number of principal areas with relatively uninhibited interchange among them. Five oceanic divisions are usually defined: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern; the last two listed are sometimes consolidated into the first three.
The Atlantic, one component of the system, makes up 23% of the "global ocean".

The World Ocean or Global Ocean (colloquially the sea or the ocean) is the interconnected system of the oceanic waters of the sea, and comprises the bulk of the hydrosphere, covering 361,132,000 square kilometres or 139,434,000 square miles (70.8%) of Earth's surface, with a total volume of roughly 1,332,000,000 cubic kilometres (320,000,000 cubic miles).[1]


The unity and continuity of the World Ocean, with relatively free interchange among its parts, is of fundamental importance to oceanography.[2] It is divided into a number of principal oceanic areas that are delimited by the continents and various oceanographic features: these divisions are the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean (sometimes considered an estuary of the Atlantic), Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Southern Ocean, defined by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) in 2000, based on evidence that this region of the World Ocean has a distinct ecosystem and a unique impact on global climate.[3] In turn, oceanic waters are interspersed by many smaller seas, gulfs, and bays.

A global ocean has existed in one form or another on Earth for eons, and the notion dates back to classical antiquity in the form of Oceanus. The contemporary concept of the World Ocean was coined in the early 20th century by the Russian oceanographer Yuly Shokalsky to refer to the continuous ocean that covers and encircles most of Earth.[4]

If viewed from the southern pole of Earth, the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans can be seen as lobes extending northward from the Southern Ocean. Farther north, the Atlantic opens into the Arctic Ocean, which is connected to the Pacific by the Bering Strait, forming a continuous expanse of water.

Plate tectonics, post-glacial rebound, and sea level rise continually change the coastline and structure of the world ocean.


# Ocean Location Area
Avg. depth
1 Pacific Ocean Separates Asia and Australasia from the Americas[5][NB] 168,723,000
3,970 135,663
2 Atlantic Ocean Separates the Americas from Europe and Africa[6] 85,133,000
3,646 111,866
3 Indian Ocean Borders southern Asia and separates Africa and Australia[7] 70,560,000
3,741 66,526
4 Southern Ocean Encircles Antarctica. Sometimes considered an extension of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans,[8][9] 21,960,000
3,270 17,968
5 Arctic Ocean Borders northern North America and Eurasia and covers much of the Arctic. Sometimes considered a sea or estuary of the Atlantic.[10][11][12] 15,558,000
1,205 45,389
Total - World Ocean 361,900,000
3,688 377,412[13]

Anthropogenic presence and impact

Global cumulative human impact on the ocean[14]

Human activities affect marine life and marine habitats through overfishing, pollution, acidification and the introduction of invasive species. These impact marine ecosystems and food webs and may result in consequences as yet unrecognised for the biodiversity and continuation of marine life forms.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "WHOI Calculates Volume and Depth of World's Oceans". Ocean Power Magazine. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ Spilhaus, Athelstan F. 1942 (Jul.). "Maps of the whole world ocean." Geographical Review (American Geographical Society). Vol. 32 (3): pp. 431-5.
  3. ^ Rosenberg, Matt (May 1, 2005). "Do You Know the World's Newest Ocean?". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Bruckner, Lynne and Dan Brayton (2011). Ecocritical Shakespeare (Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity). Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0754669197.
  5. ^ "Pacific Ocean". Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Atlantic Ocean". Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Indian Ocean". Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Southern Ocean". Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ Tomczak, Matthias; Godfrey, J. Stuart (2003). Regional Oceanography: an Introduction (2 ed.). Delhi: Daya Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-7035-306-5. Archived from the original on 2007-06-30. Retrieved .
  11. ^ "'Arctic Ocean' - Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved . As an approximation, the Arctic Ocean may be regarded as an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean.
  12. ^ "Arctic Ocean". Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Recommendation ITU-R RS.1624: Sharing between the Earth exploration-satellite (passive) and airborne altimeters in the aeronautical radionavigation service in the band 4 200-4 400 MHz (Question ITU-R 229/7)" (PDF). ITU Radiotelecommunication Sector (ITU-R). Retrieved . The oceans occupy about 3.35×108 km2 of area. There are 377412 km of oceanic coastlines in the world.
  14. ^ Halpern, B.S.; Frazier, M.; Afflerbach, J.; et al. (2019). "Recent pace of change in human impact on the world's ocean". Scientific Reports. 9 (1): 11609. Bibcode:2019NatSR...911609H. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-47201-9. PMC 6691109. PMID 31406130.
  15. ^ Human impacts on marine ecosystems GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research. Retrieved 22 October 2019.

Further reading

External links

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