How the Ocean Affects Us

The ocean, a huge body of salt water covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, is a vital part of our planet. It affects us by storing solar radiation, distributing heat and moisture around the globe, and driving weather systems. It also provides habitats for a variety of marine life, from the microscopic phytoplankton to the colossal cetaceans.

The word “ocean” is derived from the Greek god of the sea, Okeanos, or more precisely, Okeanos, the personification of an enormous river or ocean. The oceans are also the source of freshwater, which sustains life on land and is crucial for all living things.

Oceanographers have made some amazing discoveries about our planet’s vast oceans. They are still learning about how plate tectonics and post-glacial rebound interact to create a dynamic and ever-changing ocean system. They are discovering that our oceans contain towering mountain ranges and deep canyons known as trenches. Oceanographers are also learning that our oceans are filled with a diversity of creatures—from the ubiquitous krill and jellyfish to the fearsome blue whale, the largest animal on Earth.

Scientists are now predicting that human activity will continue to alter the ocean’s natural processes, leading to an even faster increase in global temperatures and other changes. This will impact our health, the environment, and the survival of both plants and animals.

The world’s oceans influence our weather and climate by storing solar energy, transferring heat and moisture around the globe, and driving all of our weather systems. They also play a critical role in keeping our planet warm by absorbing the majority of the sunlight that hits the surface and reflecting less sunlight back into space.

Although the ocean is a continuous, global body of water, it is divided into five major oceanic areas: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern oceans. The movement of currents in these areas is governed by wind-driven surface winds and the Coriolis force, which is caused by the rotation of the Earth on its axis. Ocean currents not only circulate the surface waters, but they also carry nutrient rich upwelling waters to the surface from the depths.

Everyone can help protect the world’s oceans by taking steps in their daily lives to reduce waste and pollution. A simple thing like using a reusable water bottle instead of plastic can make a difference. People can also purchase seafood that is sustainable, avoid purchasing authentic coral jewelry or accessories, and resist the temptation to interfere with nesting sea turtles on beaches. Lastly, people can become ocean defenders by volunteering or donating to organizations working to save our seas.

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