What is the percentage of the earth’s surface that is occupied by its oceans?

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By Kristy Tolley

The World’s Oceans

The Earth’s oceans are vast bodies of saltwater that are essential to the survival of life on our planet. They cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and hold approximately 97% of the planet’s water. The oceans are a crucial part of the global climate system, regulating the temperature and weather patterns of our planet.

The oceans are also home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, many of which are yet to be discovered. They are a vital source of food and livelihood for millions of people around the world, and they play a critical role in the global economy by providing transportation routes for goods and resources.

The Size of the Earth’s Surface

The Earth’s surface is approximately 510 million square kilometers in total. This includes the landmasses and the bodies of water that cover the planet’s surface. Of this 510 million square kilometers, roughly 29% is made up of land, while the remaining 71% is made up of water.

How Much of the Earth is Covered by Water?

As previously mentioned, water covers approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface. This includes the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. The majority of this water is found in the oceans, which occupy a total surface area of 361 million square kilometers.

The Definition of Ocean

The term "ocean" refers to a vast body of saltwater that covers a significant portion of the Earth’s surface. Oceans are typically separated by continental landmasses and are connected by narrow passages or straits. They are constantly in motion, driven by ocean currents, winds, and tides.

The Four Main Oceans of the World

There are four main oceans in the world: the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. These oceans are named based on their location and are separated by the continents that surround them.

Oceans Vs. Seas: What’s the Difference?

While oceans and seas are both bodies of saltwater that cover the Earth’s surface, there are some key differences between the two. Oceans are larger and more extensive than seas and are typically separated by landmasses. Seas, on the other hand, are smaller bodies of water that are often partially enclosed by land.

The Surface Area of the World’s Oceans

The total surface area of the Earth’s oceans is approximately 361 million square kilometers. This includes all four of the world’s oceans and the various seas and smaller bodies of water that they contain.

The Percentage of Earth’s Surface Covered by Oceans

As previously mentioned, approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Of this water, the vast majority is found in the oceans, which occupy approximately 97% of the total volume of water on the planet.

The Total Volume of Earth’s Oceans

The total volume of water in the Earth’s oceans is estimated to be approximately 1.332 billion cubic kilometers. This water is constantly in motion, moving around the planet in complex patterns driven by ocean currents, winds, and tides.

The Importance of the World’s Oceans

The oceans play a crucial role in the global climate system, regulating the temperature and weather patterns of our planet. They are also home to a vast array of plant and animal species, many of which are yet to be discovered. Additionally, the oceans are a vital source of food and livelihood for millions of people around the world and are a critical part of the global economy.

Conclusion: The Oceans and the Future of the Planet

The oceans are a crucial part of our planet’s ecosystem and are essential to the survival of life on Earth. As human activity continues to impact the environment, it is vital that we take steps to protect and preserve our oceans for future generations. By working together to reduce pollution, regulate fishing practices, and mitigate the effects of climate change, we can help ensure a healthy and sustainable future for our planet’s oceans and the life that depends on them.

References and Further Reading

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (n.d.). How much of the ocean have we explored? National Ocean Service. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/exploration.html
  • National Geographic. (2020). Ocean. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/ocean/
  • Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. (2021). The ocean. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. https://www.oar.noaa.gov/ocean/
  • World Wildlife Fund. (n.d.). Oceans and coasts.
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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