noaa.gov

How much water is in the ocean?

About 96 percent of Earth's water is in the ocean

sunset viewed from Kure Atoll, located near Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

The ocean covers more than 70 percent of the surface of our planet.

It's hard to imagine, but an astounding 96 percent of the Earth's water can be found in our oceans. Of the tiny percentage that's not in the ocean, about two percent is frozen up in glaciers and ice caps. Less than one percent of all the water on Earth is fresh. A tiny fraction of water exists as water vapor in our atmosphere.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are over 332,519,000 cubic miles of water on the planet. A cubic mile is the volume of a cube measuring one mile on each side. Of this vast volume of water, NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center estimates that 321,003,271 cubic miles is in the ocean.

That's enough water to fill about 352,670,000,000,000,000,000 gallon-sized milk containers!