Oceans of the world

The World Ocean

There is only one World (or global) Ocean however the vast body of water that covers 71 percent of the Earth is geographically divided into distinct named regions.


The boundaries between these regions have evolved over time for a variety of historical, cultural, geographical, and scientific reasons.

The World Ocean
The World Ocean

How many oceans are there?

Oceans of the world. Animation showing 1 world ocean, 4 historic oceans and 5 modern oceans. From NOAA: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/howmanyoceans.html
Oceans of the world. Animation showing 1 world ocean, 4 historic oceans and 5 modern oceans. From NOAA: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/howmanyoceans.html



Historically, there are four named oceans:

(1) the Atlantic ocean

(2) the Pacific ocean

(3) the Indian ocean

(4) the Arctic ocean


However, most countries - including the United States - now recognize the Southern (Antarctic) as the fifth ocean.


The Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian are known as the three major oceans.

The Seas of the World

Arctic Ocean:

Barents Sea

Beaufort Sea

Chukchi Sea

East Siberian Sea

Greenland Sea

Kara Sea

Laptev Sea

Lincoln Sea


Pacific Ocean

Arafura Sea

Banda Sea

Bering Sea

Bismarck Sea

Celebes Sea

Chilean Sea

Coral Sea

East China Sea

Gulf of Alaska

Sea of Japan

Molucca Sea

Sea of Okhotsk

Philippine Sea

Solomon Sea

South China Sea

Sulu Sea

Tasman Sea 

Yellow Sea


This is not a complete list.

Atlantic Ocean:

Black Sea

Caribbean Sea

Greenland Sea

Gulf of Guinea

Labrador Sea

Mediterranean Sea

North Sea

Norwegian Sea

Sargasso Sea



Indian Ocean:

Arabian Sea

Bay of Bengal

Timor Sea


Southern Ocean:

Amundsen Sea

Ross Sea

Scotia Sea

Weddell Sea






The Global Continental Shelf

The continental shelf is an underwater landmass which extends from a continent, resulting in an area of relatively shallow water known as a shelf sea.


The continental margin, between the continental shelf and the abyssal plain, comprises a steep continental slope followed by the flatter continental rise. 

Global land and undersea elevation. Source: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/image/2minrelief.html
The global continental shelf, highlighted in cyan, defines the extent of coastal habitats, and occupies 5% of the total world area. Tap to view in full size. Source: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/image/2minrelief.html


The World Ocean modified from: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/howmanyoceans.html

The global continental shelf modified from :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_shelf



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Marine Science facts

The oceans provide 99% of the living space on the planet containing 50-80% of all life.

Sponges are older than dinosaurs.


Half the Oxygen we breath is produced in the Ocean.


 Irukandji jelly fish, with just a brush of venom leaves almost no mark. But after about a half hour you develop Irukandji syndrome, a debilitating mix of nausea, vomiting, severe pain, difficulty breathing, drenching sweating and sense of impending doom. You get so sick that your biggest worry is that you’re not going to die.


The most remote point in the oceans is called Point Nemo.


The Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans are known as the three major oceans.