World Ocean

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Not to be confused with Ocean World (disambiguation).
"Ocean Sea" redirects here. For the novel, see Ocean Sea (novel).
Animated map exhibiting the world's oceanic waters. A continuous body of water encircling the Earth, the World Ocean is divided into a number of principal areas with relatively free or uninhibited interchange among them. Five oceanic divisions are usually reckoned: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern; the last two listed are sometimes consolidated into the first three.

The World Ocean, world ocean, or global ocean, is the interconnected system of the Earth's oceanic (or marine) waters, and comprises the bulk of the hydrosphere, covering almost 70% of the Earth's surface, with a total volume of 1.332 billion cubic kilometers.[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 a sea of the Atlantic), Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Southern Ocean (often reckoned instead as just the southern portions of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans). 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 by the Russian oceanographer Yuly Shokalsky in the early 20th century to describe what is basically a solitary, continuous ocean that covers and encircles most of the Earth.[3]

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.

The approximate shape of the World Ocean can for most purposes be treated as constant, although in fact it is not: continental drift continually changes its structure.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WHOI Calculates Volume and Depth of World’s Oceans". Ocean Power Magazine. Retrieved February 28, 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. ^ Bruckner, Lynne and Dan Brayton (2011). Ecocritical Shakespeare (Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity). Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0754669197. 

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