- 20 October 2016 | Environment
Seventy-one percent of Earth's surface is covered with water. The five oceans of the world rule the planet.
Oceans are responsible for the existence of life in our world. Life started in the ocean, and today, more than 230,000 marine species call the sea their home.
Oceans control the Earth's climate and temperature. They balance heat and are crucial for the creation of rainfall.
On average, the five oceans of the world have a salinity of roughly 3.5 percent. However, regions like Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Bay of Bengal have higher salinity levels.
The largest ocean in the world - the Pacific Ocean - is ten times bigger than the smallest one - the Indian Ocean. The Pacific Ocean got its name from Fernão de Magalhães, the Portuguese explorer who organized the first circumnavigation of the Earth.
In 1521, Magalhães - often called Magellan - called it "Mar Pacifico." The Pacific Ocean covers more than 30 percent of the surface of our planet, and it is bigger than the landmass of all continents.
Interestingly, the smallest ocean in the world - the Arctic Ocean - has 25 percent of the planet's undiscovered petroleum resources.
But do you know the name and the size of the world's oceans?
1. Pacific Ocean: 168,723,000 square kilometers
2. Atlantic Ocean: 85,133,000 square kilometers
3. Indian Ocean: 70,560,000 square kilometers
4. Southern Ocean: 21,960,000 square kilometers
5. Arctic Ocean: 15,558,000 square kilometers
People often use the word "sea" to refer to the "ocean" but, technically, both expressions are not interchangeable. An ocean has many seas. Seas are smaller parts of an ocean. So, what are the seas of the world?
Pacific Ocean: Bali Sea, Bering Sea, Bering Strait, Coral Sea, East China Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Gulf of Tonkin, Philippine Sea, Sea of Japan, Sea of Okhotsk, South China Sea, and Tasman Sea;
Atlantic Ocean: Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caribbean Sea, Davis Strait, Denmark Strait, part of the Drake Passage, Gulf of Mexico, Labrador Sea, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, Norwegian Sea, and almost all of the Scotia Sea;
Indian Ocean: Andaman Sea, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Flores Sea, Great Australian Bight, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Java Sea, Mozambique Channel, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Savu Sea, Strait of Malacca, and Timor Sea;
Southern Ocean: Amundsen Sea, Bellingshausen Sea, part of the Drake Passage, Ross Sea, a small part of the Scotia Sea, and Weddell Sea;
Arctic Ocean: Baffin Bay, Barents Sea, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, East Siberian Sea, Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, and Northwest Passage;
Discover things you didn't know about the oceans.