The earth’s surface has about 71% covered by water. In essence, this makes the third planet from the sun be known as the Blue Planet. Land, which is habitable and occupied by humans, only makes about twenty-nine percent of the planet. Among all the planets in the solar system, the earth is the only one that has liquid water. The Northern Hemisphere is informally referred to as the earth’s landmass. The surface of the earth has land covering at least twenty-nine percent while the rest sixty-one percent is still water. On the other hand, the Southern Hemisphere is a water hemisphere because eighty-one percent is water. Oceans, which include the Pacific, Indian, the Arctic and Southern, take up ninety-six of water on earth. This paper looks at the composition and characteristics of major oceans on earth by focusing more on their size and depth.
Starting with the Pacific Ocean, which is one of the largest water bodies on earth, oceans cover more space than land on earth. The ocean is quite deep with an average depth of 13,000ft. The deepest part is 36,200ft, which is around the western part of the ocean at Mariana Trench. The ocean covers an area which covers from as far as the Arctic region, which is in the north, to the Antarctic regions. The Pacific transverses the whole of the plane. In the west, it touches on the Asian continent, which also includes Australia. On the eastern side, it borders the American continent. The ocean borders several continents and is home to a number of famous animal and plant species. Its area is 165,250,000 square kilometers. It should be noted that Pacific takes up about 50% of the earths water mass. The ocean covers approximately 46% of the earth’s water surface, which implies it is bigger as compared to the total earth’ land area. The Pacific Ocean is home to the water hemisphere and western hemisphere (Perry 56).
The equator divides the ocean into North and South pacific, with only two exceptions-Gilbert Highlands and Galapagos. The ocean separates both Asia and Australia from the Americas. Furthermore, it has the most islands in the world, with an approximated twenty-five thousand. The islands found in the ocean could be divided into three major categories: Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia. The former is found on the northern side of the equatorial line. Some of the notable islands within the Micronesia are islands. Melanesia is home to the largest island in the world after Greenland referred to as New Guinea. Polynesia stretches all the way from Hawaii to New Zealand and is home to Tuvalu, Samoa, and Easter Island among others (Brindley 13).
The Atlantic Ocean is half the size of the Pacific and its average depth is 12,881ft. The deepest part of the ocean is 28,232ft at Puerto Rico Trench. The total area of the Ocean is 106,400,000 square kilometers or 41,100,000 square miles. The ocean covers an estimated 20% of the mass found on the planet. Notably, the ocean formed when the American continents drifted away from Eurasia and Africa. The shape of the southern part of the ocean in America resembles the one in the coast of Africa. Scientists observe that the ocean is still growing because of sea floor movement, which is spreading from mid-Atlantic. On the contrary, the Pacific Ocean is shrinking because of the folding of sea floor. The ocean borders the two American continents which are located to its south and north. It also goes all the way to the Arctic Ocean through what is termed as the Greenland Sea. Through the Drake Passage, the ocen connects to the Indian frontier as well as the Pacific. The Panama Canal connects it with the Pacific as well.
The ocean is known for its strong currents, one of them being the Gulf Stream, which flows across the North Atlantic. The sun heats the waters in the Caribbean Sea and moves toward the North Pole at the northwest. This results in changes in weather in France, Britain, Norway, and Iceland during winter as compared to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia both in Canada, which are usually colder. If the ocean does not produce strong currents (Gulf Stream), the climatic conditions in northeast Canada and northwest of Europe could be similar given the fact that the places are about of the same desistance from the North Pole. The currents that the ocean produces at the southern parts do not affect South Africa because of its shape.
The other water body is christened the Indian Ocean. The location of the water mass is to the southern part of the planet. It has an average depth of 12,881ft. The deepest part is found at the Java Trench, with a depth of 24,442ft. The approximated area of the ocean is 70,560,000 square kilometers. The ocean is among the few which borders close to all the continents. These continents are Asia, Africa, Australia, and Southern Ocean. Monsoon winds are common across the ocean. Their season is normally around October. To the Asian continent, the winds are normally associated with rainy seasons. In Mauritius, however, they are responsible for land droughts. With changes in the monsoon winds, cyclones are common along the shores of the continents it borders. Regions which are prone to such calamities include the Bay of Bengal. It should be noted that the ocean has one of the highest temperatures among the aforementioned water bodies (Han 859).
Recorded temperatures indicate that there is ongoing rapid and continuous warming of the ocean at 1.2 °C (1.3–2.2 °F) between the period of 190 and 2012 (Wright 21). The warming of the ocean is three times faster to the warming taking place in the Pacific. Similar studies continue to show that human induced greenhouse warming is to blame, as well as the changes that are taking place when it comes to global warming. archeological evidence shows that the ocean was the last to be formed.
The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest compared to the rest. Some scientists view it as an Arctic Mediterranean Sea, or better still Arctic Sea given the fact that it has always been allude that it is an estuary serving the Atlantic Ocean. The Ocean is about 7% of the Pacific Ocean, with an average depth of 3,953ft. Its deepest end is 18,456 and is found at the Litke Deep (Simmonds, & Burke 21). It experiences a heavy inflow of fresh waters from rivers and streams, something that makes evaporation limited. During the summer, the shrinking of the ocean takes place at 50%.
Finally, the Southern Ocean, which is also referred to as Antarctic Ocean, is found in the earth’s southern region. The geographic location of the sea makes it the point of interaction between warm and cold waters from both ends of the earth’s poles. Therefore, it has unique aquatic features. Some scientists argue that the ocean’s waters consists those of the other major oceans. The oceans cover most parts of the earth surface, but most of the waters in these waters are saline. However, the Southern Ocean is fresh water even though it cannot be used for domestic use. The ocean is the fourth largest implying it is bigger than Arctic.
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- Han, McCreary. “Modelling salinity distributions in the Indian Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research, 106:1 (2001): 859–877.
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- Simmonds, Ian, & Burke, Craig. Arctic climate change as manifest in cyclone behavior. Journal of Climate, 21:1 (2008), 1-18.
- Wright, John. The New York Times Almanac. New York, New York: Penguin Books, 2006.