The Ocean

Introduction to the Oceans

We cannot learn about the weather we experience without considering the ocean and its effect on our weather - and the weather's effect on it. We must consider the ocean because nearly 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by it and more than 97% of all our water is contained in it.

The World's major oceans.
The world's major oceans.

Understanding the ocean and its relationship to weather is critical as more than half of the world's population lives within 60 miles (100 km) of the ocean.

The ocean's ability to absorb, store, and release heat into the atmosphere is huge and often directly affects us. In fact, just the top 10 feet of the ocean surface contains more heat than our entire atmosphere. Major climate events, such as El Niño, result from ocean temperature changes. These temperature changes have impacts on weather events such as hurricanes, typhoons, floods and droughts which, in turn, affect the prices and availability of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

The sizes of the major oceans
Ocean Surface Area (miles2) Surface Area (kilometers2) Of all oceans
Pacific 64,000,000 166,000,000 45.0%
Atlantic 31,600,000 82,000,000 22.2%
Indian 28,400,000 73,600,000 20.0%
Southern 13,523,000 35,000,000 9.5%
Arctic 4,700,000 12,173,000 3.3%

With all of this water, it is essential that we consider the ocean.