What do you know about our ocean? Get a snapshot of some surprising facts in less than two minutes with our video! Transcript
Let's kick it off with this question: How many oceans are there? Answer: While there is only one global ocean, 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. Historically, there are four named oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic. 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.
Given the vast size of the ocean, it is impossible to know the exact number of species that live there. Researchers around the world continue to study marine life and habitats to help develop new strategies to preserve vital ocean ecosystems. Scientists estimate that 91 percent of ocean species have yet to be classified, and that 95 percent of the ocean remains unexplored. While these statistics may sound daunting, they have not stopped the global scientific community from striving to amass as much knowledge as possible about ocean life.
Hydrography is the science that measures and describes the physical features of the navigable portion of the Earth's surface and adjoining coastal areas. Hydrographic surveyors study these bodies of water to see what the "floor" looks like. NOAA conducts hydrographic surveys to measure the depth and bottom configuration of water bodies. This information is vital to navigating the ocean and our nation's waterways.
Want to be an ocean steward? Protecting our ocean starts with you. We share tips on how you can contribute, whether you live on an island, along the coast, or in the center of the nation.
What do you know about our ocean? The ocean is where life began over 3.5 billion years ago. The ocean covers over 70% of the Earth's surface and includes over 96% of the Earth's water. Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth and can be seen from the moon! The deepest part of the ocean is in the Mariana Trench, and nearly 7 miles beneath the waves! Coral reefs cover only 1/50th of the ocean floor but about one quarter of all the marine species make coral reefs their home. No light penetrates the ocean at depths greater than 3,280 feet. Aided by deep diving rovers and remote sensing cameras, scientists are still discovering new species beneath the waves. The Gulf Stream transports more water than all of the Earth's rivers combined. The mid-ocean ridge crisscrosses the globe for over 40,000 miles and is the largest geological feature on Earth. Did you know that about 95% of the ocean remains unexplored? There is only one world ocean. Happy World Ocean Day from NOAA's National Ocean Service.