Antarctic Ocean

Antarctic Ocean – Comprising the southernmost waters of the World Ocean is the Antarctic Ocean, also known as Southern Ocean or Austral Ocean. It is the fourth largest of the 5 oceans. This is where cold, northward flowing waters from Antarctic mix with warmer sub antarctic waters.

This ocean extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60° S. For some time, the only oceans recognized by geographic circles were Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. However, the IHO (International Hydrographic Organization) settled this debate through a 2000 publication that affirmed, named and defined the Antarctic Ocean. Limits of Oceans and Seas (S-23), published the names and locations of seas and oceans. Its third edition in 2000 confirmed the existence of the Antarctic Ocean as the 5th world ocean.

Antarctic Ocean

Antarctic Ocean

Geography

This Ocean lies approximately 7.8 million square miles and about the double the size of USA. Its lowest point is 23,737 feet below sea level in the South Sandwich Trench.

Waters of this Ocean differs from the waters in other oceans making it a reason to consider it as a separate ocean. Its waters get carried around fairly rapidly due to Antarctic Circumpolar Current which circulates around Antarctica.

Climate

The Antarctic Ocean often experiences cyclone like storms and it results from the stark contrast in the middle of the ice packs and ocean waves. They are very harsh for any sailors or marine vessels that happen to be caught in their path.

Water surface temperatures vary from -2° to 10° C. In winter, the ocean freezes away to 65° S in Pacific and 55° S in the Atlantic sector. This lowers surface temperatures well below 0°C. Continual intense drainage at some coastal points however, keep the shoreline ice free throughout the year.

Biodiversity

Marine animals present in Antarctic Ocean rely directly and indirectly on phytoplankton. Sea life like penguins, blue whales, orcas, colossal squids, and fur seals can be found here. There are also few fish species existent. Most specie found are snailfish, cod ice fish, and eelpout. They account for almost 9/10 of the nearly 320 described fish specie in Antarctic Ocean. Birds can be found on the rocky shores of mainland Antarctica. It provides nesting space for over 100 million birds every spring. This includes albatrosses, petrels, skuas, gulls, and terns. Flightless penguins are located in Southern Hemisphere while 4 of the other penguin species live on the mainland and its close offshore islands.

Economy

Producing more or less 119,898 tons in 1998 alone, fisheries are the largest amount of exports in Antarctic Ocean. This industry relies on open entry to ports along the which, during the winters months are unfortunately limited because of ice build up.

Environmental Issues

Antarctic Ocean confronts distinct ecological hazards to its natural marine ecosystems. The first is the constant ultra violet radiation that courses into the ocean from the Antarctic ozone hole causing the productivity of phytoplankton to reduce. Illegal and unreported fishing moreover affects the sustainability of stocks. International agreements regarding the world’s oceans include the and is subject specific to this region. Some of which are; International Whaling Commission, Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals, and Convention of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Antarctic Treaty protects the division of the globe 60°S thus, claims to Antarctica and all islands surrounding are suspended.

Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean – With an area of about 41.1 million square miles, the Atlantic Ocean, the world’s second largest ocean covers approximately 20% of the Earth’s surface and about 29% of its water surface area. This separates the Old World (Africa, Asia, and Europe) from the New World (majority of Western Hemisphere, specifically Americas).

Named after the god of Atlas from Greek mythology, its name means “seas of Atlas.”

The Atlantic is S shaped and narrow in relation to length. It isn’t the largest of the world’s oceans but, it has by far the largest drainage area. By drainage it means, both sides of the Atlantic tend to slope towards it that it receives the waters of great proportion from the major rivers of the world.

Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean

Geography

Bounded on the west by North and South Africa, Atlantic Ocean also connects to the Arctic Ocean through Denmark Strait, Norwegian Sea, Greenland Sea, and Barents Sea. Mediterranean Sea also connects with it through Strait of Gibraltar. The 20° East Meridian defines the border between Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

Present in the Atlantic are natural hazards like that of icebergs located in Davis Strait, Denmark Strait, and Northwestern Atlantic. Thick fogs and icing in extreme northern locations and hurricanes that post threat from months of May to December.

Ocean Floor

The Mid Atlantic Ridge is an immense median mountain range extending all over the length of the Atlantic it the exceptional feature of the Atlantic Floor. It claims the center third of the ocean bed attaining almost 1,000 miles in extent. The large unstable island arcs were formed by the Lesser Antilles and the South Sandwich Islands. These arcs are found in steep sided narrow gashes that drop to more than 7600 meters below sea level and more than 10,000 feet below the floors of adjacent basins.

Bordering Countries and Territories

This is the list of countries, states and territories with a coastline on Atlantic Ocean;

Ocean Water Characteristics

Latitude, current systems, and seasons that reflect the latitudinal distribution of solar energy affects Atlantic Ocean’s surface water temperatures. North of the equator gets   maximum temperatures and minimal values are being come across by the polar regions. Salinity values differ from one area of the Atlantic Ocean to another. North Atlantic is at its highest at 35.5 parts per thousand while lowest at Southern Atlantic at 34.5. The variance is the effect of the intense evaporation in the Mediterranean and the outflow from the sea.

Climate

As that of the salinity values of Atlantic Ocean, its weather is different from North and South too. North Atlantic is greatly determined by wind currents and air masses coming from North America. South Atlantic however, is the belt of prevailing westerlies.

Terrain and Natural Resources

From North to South, there’s a relatively broad area of continental shelf that have given Atlantic Ocean a proliferation of plants and animal species. There are large variety of sea weeds, algae of commercial value, and large communities of crustaceans and fishes.

The Atlantic has also been used as oceanic highways to transport goods and passengers. The first records of extensive trading linkages are from Egyptian, Greek, Phoenician and Roman Civilizations dating far back 1500AD.

Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean – Covering 27.2 million square miles or approximately 20% of the water on Earth’s surface is the third largest ocean. This body of salt water is bordered by Asia to the north, Australia and Pacific Ocean to the east, Southern Ocean to the south, and Africa and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is geologically youngest and physically the most complex of the world’s oceans. Part of this ocean are Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea. It expanses for more than 6,200 miles between southern tips of Africa and Australia.

Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean

Geography

The International Hydrographic Organization delineated the borders of Indian Sea in 1953. It included the Southern Ocean but not the marginal seas by the northern rim. Outlining the oceanic limits of the Indian Ocean remains complicated and uncertain. The most agreed upon is that with Atlantic Ocean, that flows from Cape Agulhas to south along the 20° E meridian to the shores of Antarctica. Pacific Ocean to the southeast is frequently drawn from South East Cape by the Island of Tasmania south 147°E meridian to Antarctica. The northeastern margin is the most complicated to identify. The one settled upon runs northwest Cape Londonderry in Australia across Timor Sea, by the southern shores of Lesser Sunda Islands and of Java, then Sunda Strait to the Island of Sumatra.

Rugged and seismically active mountain chain that is part of the worldwide oceanic ridge system are what the Indian Oceans ridges consist of. It forms an inverted Y on the ocean floor, from the upper northwest of Carlsberg Ridge in the Arabian Sea turning south past the Chagos-Laccadive Plateau and converting the mid Indian Ridge. There are sea mounts that are extinct submarine volcanoes that are conically shaped and flat topped. Indian Ocean’s basins are characterized by even and flat plains of dense sediment with abyssal hills.

Bordering Countries and Territories

Climate

There are four general latitudinal climatic zones dependent on atmospheric circulation; monsoon, trade winds, subtropical and temperate, and subantarctic and Antarctic. The first zone, Monsoon Zone extends north from latitude 10° S, has monsoon climate described as semiannual reversing winds. Trade wind zone lies in the middle of 10° and 30° S. Its steady southeasterly trade winds exist throughout the year and the strongest are by months of June and September. The third zone sits in the subtropical and temperate latitudes of Southern hemisphere, between 30° to 45° S where prevailing winds are light and variable. The Subantarctic and Antarctic zone dominates the wide belt latitude 45° S and the continent of Antarctica. Constant westerly winds prevail which reaches gale forces at times with their passage through Antarctic low pressure zones.

Hydrology

Indian Ocean’s hydrological characteristics are resultant from the interaction of atmospheric conditions with the surface, sources of water, deep circulation, all of which combine to shape generally horizontal layers of water. Wind drives ocean surface circulations. In monsoon zone, surface circulation reverses every half year and features opposing gyres that are separated by the Indian subcontinent.

Trade

For more than two millennia, the lateen rigged sailing ferries called dhows were predominant in shipping within Indian Ocean. This trade was mostly important in the western Indian Ocean, where they could take advantage of the monsoon winds. Shipping in the Indian Ocean are divided in three types; dhow, dry-cargo carriers, and tankers.

Marine and other Resources

The most valuable resource is Petroleum as the Persian Gulf is the largest oil producing region in the world. Large reserves are believed to lie by the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. Indian Ocean’s greatest part lies within the tropical and temperate zones. Its shallow waters have numerous corals and other organisms efficient of building together with calcareous red algae – reef and coral islands. The phenomenon wherein the upwellings that occur in coastal parts of the Indian Ocean, most especially in the Northern Arabian Sea along the South African coast and cause nutrients to concentrate in the surface of waters, produces immense quantities of phytoplankton. These phytoplankton are basis of large inhabitants of commercially valuable marine animals.

Artic Ocean

Arctic Ocean – The ocean around the North Pole is the smallest and shallowest ocean in the world, the Arctic Ocean. It is surrounded by the northern parts of Eurasia and North America. The Arctic Ocean and its marginal (the Chukchi, East Siberian, Laptev, Kara, Barents, White, Greenland, Beaufort, Bering and Norwegian seas) seas are changing as the Arctic exhibits a strong response to global change.

Arctic Ocean may be the smallest of the Earth’s oceans having a little more than 1/6 of the area of the Indian Ocean, its area of 14.09 million square kilometers is five times larger than the largest sea, Mediterranean.

Arctic was derived from the Greek word, “Arktros” meaning bear.

Arctic Ocean

Artic Ocean

Origin

The geophysical data makes the tectonic history of the Arctic Basin in the Cenozoic Era be largely known. Aeromagnetic and seismic date shows that the Eurasia Basin was made by seafloor spreading along the axis of the Nansen-Gakkel Ridge. Understanding the origin of the Arctic Ocean’s basins and ridges is important for recreating the paleoclimatic evolution of the ocean and its relevance to global environmental changes.

The resolution determined by rates of deposition of Arctic Ocean’s sediments records the physical environment, climate and ecosystems on time scales. These were dons by getting samples and coring them. Out of the numerous sediment corings done, only four penetrated deeply enough to predate the onset of climatic conditions. The oldest record that at least part of the Arctic Ocean was warm and biologically even prior to 40 million years ago. No available seafloor cores however, have sampled sediments from the time within 35 to 3 million years ago.

Climate

The arctic is in a polar climate. Polar night, cold and stable conditions, and clear skies all characterize to winter. Its surface water temperature remain consistent near the freezing point of sea water. Although it consists salt water, its salinity is less than the other oceans. Freezing occurs only when the temperature reaches -1.8 °C.

Animal and Plant Life

Artic Ocean is home to whales, walruses, polar bears, and seals. The area having a fragile ecosystem has added to making these animals being endangered. There isn’t much plant life in this region but phytoplankton. These tiny marine plants, are the start of most marine food chains. In summer, when the days are longer, they can photosynthesize for a long time each day and they reproduce quickly. On the opposite, they struggle to get enough sunlight to survive during winter. There are classes of algae and small animals that live within and underneath the sea ice.

Natural Resources

Mineral and animal resources from Arctic Ocean provide utility and economic benefit to humans. This ocean contains substantial amounts of minerals, boreal forest, and marine life. 22% of the world’s oil and natural gas are estimated by the US Geological Survey to be located beneath the Arctic. It also holds large quantities of minerals, including phosphate, bauxite, iron ore, and nickel. These are mainly used in industrialized economies.

The mountainous areas and low population also mean that villages in the Arctic often are self suppliant on electricity through hydro power.