Our human history is closely interwoven with the sea and humans have long been fascinated by the oceans. From calm, benign benefactor to unpredictable, dangerous force of nature, the seas surround and feed us, enable travel and adventure and by volume provide about 90% of the living space on the planet.
How Many Oceans Are There In The World?
There are five oceans:
- The Pacific Ocean- Making up roughly 46.6 percent of the global ocean, experts consider the Pacific to be the world’s largest ocean.
- The Atlantic Ocean- Similar to the Pacific, the Atlantic Ocean stretches from the north of the globe to the south, but is significantly narrower in comparison.
- The Indian Ocean- covering approximately one-fifth of the total ocean area of the world, it is the smallest, geologically youngest, and physically most complex of the world’s three major oceans (Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian- Britannica.com)
- The Arctic Ocean – Located in the north polar region, the Arctic is the smallest of all five oceans, making up only 4.3 percent of the global ocean.
- The Southern Ocean- There are some debates regarding the actual size of the Southern Ocean as governments across the world do not unanimously agree on where the other oceans end and the Southern begins.
Click here to find out more about the Oceans of the World By Size
More ocean facts
- The ocean covers about 71% of the surface of the Earth.
- As per estimates, 97% of the water on our planet is found in the ocean.
- The ocean remains one of the most unexplored places on Earth. Approximately, 80% of the ocean hasn’t been mapped or explored.
The ocean is a massive body of saline water that covers approximately 72% of the Earth’s surface. Together, the oceans hold around 97% of the water found on Earth and significantly influence global weather patterns and food supply chains. The ocean houses a plethora of marine organisms ranging from marine microbes to the world’s largest animal, the blue whale. However, although the ocean plays a major role in sustaining life on Earth, we have explored or mapped only about 20% of the ocean. The rest remains a mystery.
The United Nations designated June 8th as World Oceans Day.
JOIN UN WOD 2023
The ocean covers the majority of the earth, but only a small portion of its waters has been explored. Despite humanity’s utter reliance on it, and compared to the breadth and depth of what it gives us, the ocean receives only a fragment of our attention and resources in return.
But tides are changing.
To celebrate the United Nations World Oceans Day 2023 theme, Planet Ocean, the United Nations is joining forces with decision makers, scientists, private sector executives, civil society representatives, indigenous communities, celebrities and youth activists and more to put the ocean first.
Click the image below to find out about previous UN WOD events
Energy Heroes Charity educates about Climate Change through famous Art work
The Energy Heroes charity has a Primary Art teaching pack based around Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa, or The Great Wave, asking questions such as;
What causes rogue waves? How might climate change be affecting rogue waves?
What causes tsunamis? How might climate change be affecting tsunamis?
Pupils study the famous woodblock print by Japanese artist Hokusai, created in late 1831 during the Edo period of Japanese history. The print depicts three boats moving through a storm-tossed sea, with a large wave forming a spiral in the centre and Mount Fuji visible in the background. The Great Wave off Kanagawa has been described as “possibly the most reproduced image in the history of all art”, as well as being a contender for the “most famous artwork in Japanese history”. It has influenced several notable artists and musicians, including Vincent van Gogh, Claude Debussy, Claude Monet, and Hiroshige. (en.wikipedia.org)
They then recreate the iconic image in a different medium, such as createing a 3D story box of the sea and boats, or creating a comic strip or computer based animation of the scene, showing what happens next.
Pupils are then encouraged to think about the following questions: Can you use what you have found out about rogue waves or tsunamis, alongside your art works, to create a powerful display to share this knowledge with the rest of the school or your local community?
With how many people can you share your knowledge about how energy use affects climate change?
Click here to find out how to book a free visit from Energy Heroes to your school.
The Ocean’s Myths and Legends
The ocean has been a mysterious place for centuries and even today it is said that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the depths of our very own blue planet. For many in previous centuries, the ocean posed even more mysteries than it does today while the colourful tales of sweet sirens, vicious whirlpools and sailor-snacking krakens filled the heads of our predecessors. Yet where did these tales come from and is there any truth behind the them?
Mermaids and manatees https://www.bigblueoceancleanup.org/
While mermaids are accepted as fantasy today, many still love the idea of these charming ocean dwellers. Mermaids were first mentioned all the way back in the 4th century BC when they were depicted as grand Babylonian gods who came on land for a normal life during the day but slipped back under the waves at night. By the time the Greeks strode upon the Earth, the idea of mermaids had blurred into stories of beautiful sirens whose sweet singing lured sailors into the treacherous waters and to their deaths. Surprisingly, sirens were originally depicted as half-woman, half-bird creatures but either way, sailors were tied to the ship’s masts while their ears were filled with wax to stop them plunging into the deep. In 1492, the famous explorer Christopher Columbus even recorded the sighting of a fair mermaid on his voyage during which he later discovered the Americas. However, despite multiple tales, illustrations and poems depicting mermaids, it is thought that these sightings were instead mere hallucinations by sailors who had spent too long bobbing about at sea staring at endless blue horizons and who had consumed too much unappetising food and cheap rum. Researchers now think that Columbus’s mermaid sighting in 1492 was actually the first written record of manatees.
The Kraken and giant squid
Intrepid sailors did not just have mermaids and sirens to worry about either, they also had enormous deadly deep-sea creatures to contend with. The kraken was thought to prowl the seas around Norway, Greenland and Iceland, waiting for the easy prey of a wooden ship to sail past. Their giant sucker-filled tentacles would suddenly burst out of the waves, wrap themselves around an unsuspecting vessel and try to sink both the ship and its crew. Failing to do so, the kraken would then swim in angry circles around the boat, creating an enormous whirlpool which could slowly drag the sailors down into the sea which the kraken filled with a muddy, dark substance. It is no surprise that this was considered sailors’ most feared creature, yet the myth also said that abundant schools of fish flowed off the back of this giant monster, leaving the bravest of men setting out to take on the beast. Thankfully, the kraken has remained in folklore but its real-life counterpart still rules the waves. For years, scientists believed giant squid existed but our only evidence was their enormous carcasses washing up on shorelines and the painful sucker scars which are sometimes seen scattered across a sperm whale’s skin. In 2005, Japanese researchers finally caught the first video of the giant squid, a creature reaching up to 40 foot in length with eight arms, two long feeding tentacles, a beak and sprays of jet black ink. Luckily, these monsters reside in extremely deep waters, feeding only on jellyfish and shrimp and not the lives of modern day ocean-goers.
While many of the ocean’s myths have been debunked by modern scientists, there remain strange tales which are still unanswered. For example, in 2003, scientists tagged a nine foot long great white shark in order to follow its feeding pattern. Whilst checking the tracking device, the scientists saw that the shark had suddenly plummeted 2,000 feet within mere seconds while its body temperature shot up by 20°C. The only explanation so far is that this enormous shark was eaten by an even greater monster, such as a giant whale, which resides secretly in the deep. There have also been multiple reports of ghost scuba divers and 60 foot half-human, half-monster white sea creatures with both hands and tentacles. There is even thought to be man-eating seaweed in the Sargasson Sea where many empty boats have been seen floating with no signs of the crew, no evidence of anything being taken and the lifeboats still intact. The ocean will continue to amaze, intrigue, inspire and fascinate us every day and we must ensure this ancient yet still mysterious wonder is not lost before we can discover more of its secrets.
(Edited from Neve McCracken-Heywood- for full article click here)
Ten reasons we should ALL care about the Ocean-oceanconservationtrust.org
Did you know that the Ocean supports all life on Earth – and that we quite literally need it to survive? We’ve put together ten of the biggest reasons the Ocean is vital in all of our lives – and why it’s so important that we look after it.
- It provides half of the oxygen we breathe: The Ocean produces over half of the world’s oxygen and absorbs 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere. Every second breathe you take essentially comes from the Ocean.
- It regulates the climate: The Ocean covers 71% percent of the Earth’s surface, and transports heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns.
- It facilitates transportation: A huge percentage of global trade involves some form of marine transportation.
- It provides opportunities for recreation: From fishing to boating to kayaking and whale watching, the ocean provides us with many unique activities.
- It offers economic benefits: The global Ocean economy produces billions of pounds worth of goods and services and Ocean-dependant businesses employ millions of people.
- It supplies us with food: The Ocean provides more than just seafood; ingredients from the sea are found in surprising foods such as peanut butter and soy milk.
- It helps us to make medicine: Many medicinal products come from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.
We are all connected to the Ocean, just as it is connected to us. It impacts our daily lives in such a multitude of ways – just as the small decisions we make impact upon it.