How Many Oceans are There 2024

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there’s only one Global Ocean that covers 71% of the Earth’s surface.

The Global Ocean is divided into distinct geographic regions. Today, nations including the United States now recognize five ocean basins, namely:

  • Arctic
  • Atlantic
  • Indian
  • Pacific
  • Southern/Antarctic

The five oceans hold 97% of the water on Earth, and roughly 80% of the oceans remain unexplored.

1. Arctic Ocean

The coldest, shallowest and smallest ocean (the Arctic Ocean) is located in the Northern Hemisphere’s Arctic North Polar Region, enclosed by Eurasia, North America, Greenland, and other smaller islands.

The Arctic Ocean covers 15,558,00 square km, with a coastline extending 45,389 km. Its maximum depth is 18,456 feet.

Flora and Fauna are rare in the Arctic Ocean. But there’s some phytoplankton, banded gunnel, and Lion’s Mane jellyfish. Like other oceans, climate change has adversely affected the Ocean’s marine ecosystem.

2. Atlantic Ocean

Spanning 85,133,000 square km, the Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest Ocean, with an average depth of 3,646 miles. Its deepest area is Milwaukee Deep (8,380 m) in the Puerto Rico Trench.

South America surrounds the Ocean on the west and Asia and Africa on the east, the Arctic Ocean to its North, the Southern Ocean to its South, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and the Indian Ocean to the southeast.

The British Isles and north-western Europe's warm temperatures result from the North Atlantic Drift and the Gulf Stream. The Atlantic Ocean has lots of sea life, besides precious stones and petroleum on the Ocean's floor.

3. Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean occupies 70,560,000 square km and an average depth of 3,741 m. Its deepest point is Diamantina Deep, that’s a depth of 8,047m. The Eurasian landmass lies to the north of the Indian Ocean, Africa to the west, Australia to the east, and the Southern Ocean and Antarctica to the south.

The Indian Ocean is the warmest Ocean. It’s a suitable environment for phytoplankton and plant life and a lucrative environment for fishing. However, climate change, overfishing, and an increasing amount of waste threaten the natural ecosystems in the Ocean.

4. Pacific Ocean

The Pacific is the largest and deepest Ocean. It covers 168,723 square km, comprising 33% of the Earth’s surface area. The deepest section in the Ocean is the Challenger Deep in Mariana’s Trench (10,929 m).

The Pacific Ocean borders the Arctic Ocean to the north, Australia and Asia to the west, the Southern Ocean to the south, and the Americas to the east.

Various fish species inhabit the Pacific Ocean, plus natural gas, petroleum, and pearls on the ocean floor.

5. Southern/Antarctic Ocean

The Southern or Antarctic Ocean is the newest named Ocean recognized by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names as the water mass spreading from the coast of Antarctica to the line of latitude at 60°S.

The Ocean occupies over 7 million square miles, with an average depth between 13,000 and 16,000 feet. Its icebergs are freshwater, and the narrowest point is the Drake Passage- 600 miles wide.

The Southern Ocean is home to abundant sea life and seabed wealth like gas, oil, gold, and other precious minerals. Though the Southern Ocean's validity as an ocean has been keenly debated, it’s still considered a major ocean.