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Banner and W. Peirson, J. Fluid Mech. Marine Chemistry. Lecture 8. ERA Atlas. Atmosphere, Weather, and Climate. Cambridge University Press.
Annual Review of Marine Science. Bibcode : ARMS Archived from the original PDF on Introduction to Physical Oceanography.
Marine Geochemistry. Blackwell Publishing. Ocean water freezes at a lower temperature than freshwater".
Retrieved January 2, Bibcode : Sci Retrieved 8 April It's likely, NASA scientists find". Retrieved 20 June Bibcode : Icar.. Nature Physics. Bibcode : NatPh Way et al.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Planetary and Space Science. Johnson eds. Encyclopedia of the Solar System 2nd ed. Amsterdam; Boston: Academic Press.
Journal of Geophysical Research. Bibcode : JGRE.. Lunar and Planetary Science. Archived from the original on 13 November Retrieved 2 August Retrieved 23 June Nature Geoscience.
Bibcode : NatGe.. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Retrieved January 23, Retrieved May 18, Astrophysics and Space Science.
American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting. A number of synchronous moons are thought to harbor water oceans beneath their outer ice shells.
People Planet. Scientific American. August The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Bibcode : ApJ EPSC Abstracts.
Bibcode : epsc. Geophysical Research Abstracts. Ocean at Wikipedia's sister projects. Earth 's oceans and seas. World Ocean Superocean Seven Seas.
Oceans portal Book Category. Physical oceanography. Oceans portal Category Commons. Atmosphere of Earth Climate Global warming Weather.
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Wikimedia Commons Wikibooks Wikiquote. Arctic Atlantic Indian Pacific Southern. World Ocean. Separates the Americas from Europe and Africa .
Borders southern Asia and separates Africa and Australia . Encircles Antarctica. Sometimes considered an extension of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans,  .
Borders northern North America and Eurasia and covers much of the Arctic. Sometimes considered a sea or estuary of the Atlantic. Between the Arabian peninsula and the Indian subcontinent.
Between the Indian subcontinent and the Malay Peninsula. Precipitation vs. Sea surface temperature in winter. Annual variation of air temperature. The deepest known area of the ocean, at 11, m 36, ft is the Mariana Trench , located in the western Pacific Ocean.
Any of the principal divisions of this body of water, including the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans.
Usage The word ocean refers to one of the Earth's four distinct, large areas of salt water, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. The word can also mean the entire network of water that covers almost three quarters of our planet.
It comes from the Greek Okeanos, a river believed to circle the globe. The word sea can also mean the vast ocean covering most of the world.
But it more commonly refers to large landlocked or almost landlocked salty waters smaller than the great oceans, such as the Mediterranean Sea or the Bering Sea.
Sailors have long referred to all the world's waters as the seven seas. Although the origin of this phrase is not known for certain, many people believe it referred to the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Black Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Indian Ocean, which were the waters of primary interest to Europeans before Columbus.
All rights reserved. See Today's New Synonym! This type of analysis, called hypsometry , allows quantification of the surface area distribution of the oceans and their marginal seas with depth.
The Southern Hemisphere may be called the water hemisphere, while the Northern Hemisphere is the land hemisphere. This is especially true in the temperate latitudes.
This asymmetry of land and water distribution between the Northern and Southern hemispheres makes the two hemispheres behave very differently in response to the annual variation in solar radiation received by Earth.
The Southern Hemisphere shows only a small change in surface temperature from summer to winter at temperate latitudes. The Northern Hemisphere has one change in surface temperature controlled by its oceanic area and another controlled by its land area.
In the temperate latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, the land is much warmer than the oceanic area in summer and much colder in winter.
This situation creates large-scale seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and climate in the Northern Hemisphere that are not found in the Southern Hemisphere.
Ocean Article Media Additional Info. Article Contents. Print print Print. Table Of Contents. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires login.
External Websites. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Britannica Quiz. Oceanic Mass: Fact or Fiction?
Does the ocean ever stand still? Sort fact from fiction in this oceanography quiz.
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Oceanographers divide the ocean into different vertical zones defined by physical and biological conditions.
The pelagic zone includes all open ocean regions, and can be divided into further regions categorized by depth and light abundance.
Because plants require photosynthesis , life found deeper than the photic zone must either rely on material sinking from above see marine snow or find another energy source.
The pelagic part of the photic zone is known as the epipelagic. The pelagic part of the aphotic zone can be further divided into vertical regions according to temperature.
The mesopelagic is the uppermost region. The last zone includes the deep oceanic trench , and is known as the hadalpelagic. The benthic zones are aphotic and correspond to the three deepest zones of the deep-sea.
Lastly, the hadal zone corresponds to the hadalpelagic zone, which is found in oceanic trenches. The pelagic zone can be further subdivided into two subregions: the neritic zone and the oceanic zone.
The neritic zone encompasses the water mass directly above the continental shelves whereas the oceanic zone includes all the completely open water.
In contrast, the littoral zone covers the region between low and high tide and represents the transitional area between marine and terrestrial conditions.
It is also known as the intertidal zone because it is the area where tide level affects the conditions of the region.
If a zone undergoes dramatic changes in temperature with depth, it contains a thermocline. The tropical thermocline is typically deeper than the thermocline at higher latitudes.
Polar waters, which receive relatively little solar energy, are not stratified by temperature and generally lack a thermocline because surface water at polar latitudes are nearly as cold as water at greater depths.
Because this deep and cold layer contains the bulk of ocean water, the average temperature of the world ocean is 3. If a zone undergoes a strong, vertical chemistry gradient with depth, it contains a chemocline.
The halocline often coincides with the thermocline, and the combination produces a pronounced pycnocline. The British naval vessel Challenger II surveyed the trench in and named the deepest part of the trench the " Challenger Deep ".
In , the Trieste successfully reached the bottom of the trench, manned by a crew of two men. Oceanic maritime currents have different origins.
Tidal currents are in phase with the tide , hence are quasiperiodic ; they may form various knots in certain places, [ clarification needed ] most notably around headlands.
Non-periodic currents have for origin the waves, wind and different densities. These currents can decompose in one quasi-permanent current which varies within the hourly scale and one movement of Stokes drift under the effect of rapid waves movement at the echelon of a couple of seconds.
This acceleration of the current takes place in the direction of waves and dominant wind. Accordingly, when the sea depth increases, the rotation of the earth changes the direction of currents in proportion with the increase of depth, while friction lowers their speed.
At a certain sea depth, the current changes direction and is seen inverted in the opposite direction with current speed becoming null: known as the Ekman spiral.
The influence of these currents is mainly experienced at the mixed layer of the ocean surface, often from to meters of maximum depth. These currents can considerably alter, change and are dependent on the various yearly seasons.
If the mixed layer is less thick 10 to 20 meters , the quasi-permanent current at the surface adopts an extreme oblique direction in relation to the direction of the wind, becoming virtually homogeneous, until the Thermocline.
In the deep however, maritime currents are caused by the temperature gradients and the salinity between water density masses.
In littoral zones , breaking waves are so intense and the depth measurement so low, that maritime currents reach often 1 to 2 knots. Ocean currents greatly affect Earth's climate by transferring heat from the tropics to the polar regions.
Transferring warm or cold air and precipitation to coastal regions, winds may carry them inland. Surface heat and freshwater fluxes create global density gradients that drive the thermohaline circulation part of large-scale ocean circulation.
It plays an important role in supplying heat to the polar regions, and thus in sea ice regulation. Changes in the thermohaline circulation are thought to have significant impacts on Earth's energy budget.
In so far as the thermohaline circulation governs the rate at which deep waters reach the surface, it may also significantly influence atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.
For a discussion of the possibilities of changes to the thermohaline circulation under global warming , see shutdown of thermohaline circulation.
The Antarctic Circumpolar Current encircles that continent, influencing the area's climate and connecting currents in several oceans.
One of the most dramatic forms of weather occurs over the oceans: tropical cyclones also called "typhoons" and "hurricanes" depending upon where the system forms.
The ocean has a significant effect on the biosphere. Oceanic evaporation , as a phase of the water cycle , is the source of most rainfall, and ocean temperatures determine climate and wind patterns that affect life on land.
Life within the ocean evolved 3 billion years prior to life on land. Both the depth and the distance from shore strongly influence the biodiversity of the plants and animals present in each region.
In addition, many land animals have adapted to living a major part of their life on the oceans. For instance, seabirds are a diverse group of birds that have adapted to a life mainly on the oceans.
They feed on marine animals and spend most of their lifetime on water, many only going on land for breeding. Other birds that have adapted to oceans as their living space are penguins , seagulls and pelicans.
Seven species of turtles, the sea turtles , also spend most of their time in the oceans. A zone of rapid salinity increase with depth is called a halocline.
The temperature of maximum density of seawater decreases as its salt content increases. Freezing temperature of water decreases with salinity, and boiling temperature of water increases with salinity.
If evaporation exceeds precipitation, as is the case in tropical regions, salinity will be higher. Thus, oceanic waters in polar regions have lower salinity content than oceanic waters in temperate and tropical regions.
Salinity can be calculated using the chlorinity, which is a measure of the total mass of halogen ions includes fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine in seawater.
By international agreement, the following formula is used to determine salinity:. The average chlorinity is about Many of the world's goods are moved by ship between the world's seaports.
Some of the major harvests are shrimp , fish , crabs , and lobster. The motions of the ocean surface, known as undulations or waves , are the partial and alternate rising and falling of the ocean surface.
The series of mechanical waves that propagate along the interface between water and air is called swell. Although Earth is the only known planet with large stable bodies of liquid water on its surface and the only one in the Solar System , other celestial bodies are thought to have large oceans.
The gas giants , Jupiter and Saturn , are thought to lack surfaces and instead have a stratum of liquid hydrogen ; however their planetary geology is not well understood.
The possibility of the ice giants Uranus and Neptune having hot, highly compressed, supercritical water under their thick atmospheres has been hypothesised.
Although their composition is still not fully understood, a study by Wiktorowicz and Ingersall ruled out the possibility of such a water "ocean" existing on Neptune,  though some studies have suggested that exotic oceans of liquid diamond are possible.
The Mars ocean hypothesis suggests that nearly a third of the surface of Mars was once covered by water, though the water on Mars is no longer oceanic much of it residing in the ice caps.
The possibility continues to be studied along with reasons for their apparent disappearance. Astronomers now think that Venus may have had liquid water and perhaps oceans for over 2 billion years.
A global layer of liquid water thick enough to decouple the crust from the mantle is thought to be present on the natural satellites Titan , Europa , Enceladus and, with less certainty, Callisto , Ganymede   and Triton.
Large bodies of liquid hydrocarbons are thought to be present on the surface of Titan , although they are not large enough to be considered oceans and are sometimes referred to as lakes or seas.
The Cassini—Huygens space mission initially discovered only what appeared to be dry lakebeds and empty river channels, suggesting that Titan had lost what surface liquids it might have had.
Later flybys of Titan provided radar and infrared images that showed a series of hydrocarbon lakes in the colder polar regions.
Titan is thought to have a subsurface liquid-water ocean under the ice in addition to the hydrocarbon mix that forms atop its outer crust. Ceres appears to be differentiated into a rocky core and icy mantle and may harbour a liquid-water ocean under its surface.
Not enough is known of the larger trans-Neptunian objects to determine whether they are differentiated bodies capable of supporting oceans, although models of radioactive decay suggest that Pluto ,  Eris , Sedna , and Orcus have oceans beneath solid icy crusts approximately to km thick.
Some planets and natural satellites outside the Solar System are likely to have oceans, including possible water ocean planets similar to Earth in the habitable zone or "liquid-water belt".
The detection of oceans, even through the spectroscopy method, however is likely extremely difficult and inconclusive. Other possible candidates are merely speculated based on their mass and position in the habitable zone include planet though little is actually known of their composition.
Some scientists speculate Keplerb may be an "ocean-like" planet. Gliese b is speculated to have an ocean of "hot ice".
Terrestrial planets will acquire water during their accretion, some of which will be buried in the magma ocean but most of it will go into a steam atmosphere, and when the atmosphere cools it will collapse on to the surface forming an ocean.
There will also be outgassing of water from the mantle as the magma solidifies—this will happen even for planets with a low percentage of their mass composed of water, so "super-Earth exoplanets may be expected to commonly produce water oceans within tens to hundreds of millions of years of their last major accretionary impact.
Oceans, seas, lakes and other bodies of liquids can be composed of liquids other than water, for example the hydrocarbon lakes on Titan.
The possibility of seas of nitrogen on Triton was also considered but ruled out. Supercritical fluids, although not liquids, do share various properties with liquids.
Underneath the thick atmospheres of the planets Uranus and Neptune , it is expected that these planets are composed of oceans of hot high-density fluid mixtures of water, ammonia and other volatiles.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Sea or World Ocean. For other uses, see Ocean disambiguation.
A body of water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere. Further information: Borders of the oceans. Main article: Seawater.
Further information: Marine biology and Marine life. Further information: Wind wave. Further information: Extraterrestrial liquid water and List of largest lakes and seas in the Solar System.
Oceans portal Geography portal Ecology portal Environment portal Weather portal. Princeton University. Retrieved February 21, Oxford English Dictionary.
Retrieved February 5, Retrieved February 6, Retrieved The Physics Factbook. Retrieved 27 September Archived from the original on Los Angeles Times.
Retrieved August 18, UN Atlas of the Oceans. July Geographical Review. Encyclopedia of Earth. International Hydrographic Organization.
Archived from the original PDF on 8 October Retrieved 7 February Stuart Regional Oceanography: an Introduction 2 ed.
Fidel jumped out and hopped into the ocean without getting wet. Opposite is a red-brick monastery leaning like an ocean liner in the snow.
The real story of who killed bin Laden may have gone to the bottom of the ocean or been plowed back into the dirt in Abbottabad. We went home first for rubber coats, and then set off down the road to the ocean side of the Cape.
It gets its power from the ocean , a tunnel having been dug out under the water and thence upwards so as to cause great pressure.
She smiled, and said, "There are some fights at Ocean Park, tonight. The people who took care of Veronica sent her across the ocean to her aunt and uncle.
Some conical-shaped red rocks, standing out solitary in the ocean , reminded me of those in "Anstey's Cove," at Torquay.
Can you guess what they mean? Words related to ocean tide , pond , puddle , sea , blue , drink , deep , briny , brine , sink , main , seaway , high seas , salt water.
Example sentences from the Web for ocean And, by warming the ocean s, climate change is also setting the stage for supercharged storms, scientists say.
Improved three-week weather forecasts could save lives from disaster Alexandra Witze August 27, Science News. Nichols August 25, Outside Online.
Scientists say a new ocean will form in Africa as the continent continues to split into two Uwagbale Edward-Ekpu August 13, Quartz.
Pilgrim Trails Frances Lester Warner. The Huddlers William Campbell Gault. The continuous body of salt water that covers 72 percent of the Earth's surface.