The Atlantic Ocean is a huge mass of water covering about 16.7 percent of the Earth and a total area of approximately 85,133,000 square kilometers. To have an idea of its size, it is slightly larger than half of the Pacific Ocean.

This ocean has an average depth of 3,339 meters with adjacent seas, and its volume is 354,700,000 cubic kilometers. Milwaukee Deep is the deepest area, with 8,380 meters.

Its boundaries are the Arctic Ocean in the north, the Pacific Ocean in the southwest, the Indian Ocean in the southeast, and the Southern or Antarctic Ocean in the south. It connects to the Arctic Ocean through the Greenland Sea, the Denmark Strait, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. Regarding land, it reaches the shores of America in the west and Europe and Africa in the east. The Atlantic Ocean includes the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Caribbean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Norwegian Sea.

The Atlantic is the saltiest ocean in the world.

The northernmost waters sink because they are colder, denser, and saltier than normal due to being cooled by Arctic currents; this creates what is known as “thermohaline circulation” or the “ocean conveyor belt.”

The name Atlantic comes from Atlas, a character from Greek mythology known for holding up the sky on his shoulders.

Properties of the Atlantic Ocean.
Waters of Atlantic Ocean.

Properties of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic is the saltiest ocean in the world; however, the surface salinity varies with latitude and season. Thus, the saltier waters are at a range of latitude from 25° north to 25° south and in tropical areas of low rainfall and high evaporation. The lowest levels of salinity occur north of the equator.

Temperatures can vary depending on the latitude and the season, but they are about -2 °C. Again, north of the equator, the warmest temperatures are registered while the coldest are in the Polar Regions. Between August and November, hurricanes are common, tending to develop along the coasts of Africa and moving westward into the Caribbean Sea.

The ocean floor is relatively flat but has abyssal plains, ridges, depressions, plateaus, and canyons. In the Labrador Sea, the Denmark Strait, and the coast of the Baltic Sea, the water is usually covered with lots of ice packs between October and June.

Economic Importance of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic Ocean is the main communication link between Europe and America and has been sailed for many centuries. It has a considerable vessel traffic. At the same time, it has significant oil and natural gas deposits in the sedimentary rocks of the continental shelves, especially in the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the North Sea.

The Atlantic is exploited for fisheries, sand, gravel, poly-metallic nodules, and gemstones.

Besides oil and gas, the Atlantic is exploited for fisheries, sand, gravel, poly-metallic nodules, and gemstones. Fishing is plentiful, and the most important fishes are cod, hake, herring, and mackerel.

Conservation of the Atlantic Ocean.

Oil spills pollute the Atlantic Ocean; water drain with toxic substances, and garbage. Some international treaties are concerned about this and have joined forces to reduce the effects. However, many animal species are already endangered such as the manatee, some whales and turtles, sea lions, and seals.


Quick Facts:

• It’s the world’s second largest ocean.
• Among the five oceans, it is probably the last formed on Earth.
• The Ancient Greeks believed that it was an enormous river encircling the world.
• Sometimes, it is called “black Atlantic” for the role it served in the history of dark-skinned 
people, who often traveled from Africa to America by sea.
• In 2013, a crack in the earth’s crust was discovered, it marks the future 
union of the American and European continents and the disappearance of this ocean in about 220 million years.

The Pacific is the largest ocean on Earth; its name comes from the explorer Ferdinand Magellan when sailing the mighty winds of the Atlantic, found calm and favorable winds. Thus he named it “Pacific Ocean.”

This enormous mass of water ranges from the Arctic Ocean to the Antarctic or the Southern Ocean, from the Bering Sea in Alaska to the Ross Sea in Antarctica. It meets the Atlantic Ocean through the Bering Strait in the north and the Drake Passage and the Strait of Magellan in the south. It borders Asia and Oceania in the west and the Americas in the east.

The Pacific Ocean is two times bigger than the Atlantic and also contains twice the volume of water.

In simple terms, the Pacific Ocean is two times bigger than the Atlantic and also contains twice the volume of water: 714 million cubic kilometers. It occupies an area of about 161,760,000 square kilometers and includes the Bali Sea, the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, the Gulf of Tonkin, the Coral Sea, the East China Sea, the Philippine Sea, the Sea of Japan, the South China Sea, and the Tasman Sea.

Its widest point is at a latitude about 5° north, and its deepest point corresponds to the Mariana Trench, which is about 11.3 kilometers deep.

Characteristics of the Pacific Ocean.

The salinity of ocean water is variable and depends on three factors: winds, precipitation, and evaporation. High salinity values are when there are more than 35 parts per thousand or 3.5 percent and low values, less than 3.5 percent. Given this information, the lowest salinity is found in the extreme northern areas of the ocean (3.2 percent) and the highest occurs in the southeast, where the water reaches up to 3.7 percent. When there is more rainfall, the salinity decreases and when the evaporation increases the salt concentration increases too.

Pacific Ocean.

The temperature of the Pacific Ocean is related to the “layer” of water. Each layer has a different temperature; therefore the lower ones are cooler than, the higher ones, obviously. The temperature of the surface layer, which is between 300 and 900 meters, are very different than the temperatures of the deepest layer, which may be near freezing. Average temperatures range between -1.4°C and 30°C, the latter present in areas close to the equator. In general, the North Pacific is warmer than the South Pacific.

In this ocean, there is a lot of volcanic activity and earthquakes because the “Ring of Fire” surrounds it. From May to December is the tropical cyclone season in South Asia, and from June to October is hurricane season in the American continent, in an area ranging from southern North America to northern Central America. The North Pacific surface currents move clockwise while in the South Pacific, they move in the opposite direction.

Economic Importance of the Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific contains significant deposits of oil and gas, and its waters are home to thousands of important edible species in the fishing industry. It is also a source of minerals, sand, and metal for the construction business. In 1996, approximately 60 percent of the fishing was done in the Pacific Ocean, and its oil reserves have an essential role in the energy supply of the countries bordering its waters.
The Pacific’s waters are used to provide transportation services east to west; strategic navigation routes are in Taiwan, Singapore, and the area known as the Torres Strait, located in Oceania.

The Pacific Ocean is shrinking by one centimeter per year as a result of the movement of tectonic plates.

Conservation of the Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific Ocean is shrinking by one centimeter per year as a result of the movement of tectonic plates. In 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization declared the recognition of a fifth ocean, the Antarctic or the Southern Ocean, reducing a part of the South Pacific.

This ocean is subject to one of the most serious pollution incidents in history; in its waters, there is the Garbage Island or the Great Garbage Patch, a sort of territory made up of waste, mostly plastics. The situation is precarious since thousands of animal and plant species live in the area and the environmental risks that this implies.

Pacific waters are home to some species endangered including sea lions, otters, dugongs, seals, turtles, and whales.


Quick Facts:

• If all continents could be placed over the Pacific Ocean, there would still be room to spare.
• It covers one-third of the Earth’s surface (33.1%).
• It’s about 15 times larger than the United States.
• The Great Barrier Reef, located in the Pacific Ocean, is the world’s largest reef.