Many people use the terms "sea" and "ocean" when talking about bodies of water. However, there is a difference between these terms, especially when speaking of geography.
You might be wondering about these terms right now, and it comes with different factors why the two differ. In this blog, you will learn the difference between sea and ocean. You will understand more of its nature and find out why it is called that way.
Sea and Ocean Explained
The majority of Earth's bodies of water are stored in the seas, bays, and oceans. According to geography, oceans cover most of the Earth, and it's about 71% of the Earth's surface.
While some use the terms sea and ocean, it's also important to know their meanings, to fully understand the difference between sea and ocean.
Understanding the Ocean
The ocean represents a large body of open water. It is a vast body of saltwater that is larger than the sea. It covers about 3/4 of the Earth's surface, and continents surround it. Therefore, many would think of it as one big and unbounded body of water.
Many would think of the ocean as a big, unbounded body of water, in which continents are islands. They also call each section an ocean, and each comes with a specific name, like the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and the Antarctic Ocean. The Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean are the biggest and divided into the South Atlantic and North Atlantic. If you just count these divisions, you will end up with a list of seven oceans instead of five.
Oceans also supply half of the oxygen in this world. It stores about fifty times more carbon than the atmosphere. This large body of water also influences the climate of the Earth through the transfer of heat from the Equator to the poles.
Understanding the Sea
Generally speaking, seas are smaller than oceans. They are located where the ocean and land meet. The area of the land partially contains the sea. Hence, the sea is defined as a portion of the ocean that is surrounded by land. The seas are found on the ocean’s margin and enclosed by land partially.
More specifically, though, the sea is the division of waters to a considerable extent. The boundaries of the land more or less mark it off. In this sense, seas are smaller land masses, opposed to the entire continents.
“Seven Seas” have been described as the world’s great water bodies for a long. However, there are about 50 seas worldwide, but this number contains water bodies that are not always thought of as seas. They are quite various when it comes to location, size, and ecosystems.
Moreover, marine life in the sea can also be found because it’s closer to the land and less deep than the ocean. Thus, the sea becomes a perfect home for marine life as the location and temperature determine the marine life that inhibits the sea.
Difference of Sea and Ocean
As someone who loves to go on a summer vacation on the beach, perhaps you’re asking yourself what the difference between sea and ocean is. Read on for more information.
Borders and Sizes
We often hear that size does not matter; however, it does in the maritime field. Yes, it is a matter of size. It is a vast surface area of the ocean that distinguishes easily from the sea. Even though the sea is defined as a large saltwater body, the surface area is still small.
The Arabian Sea is known as the biggest sea that has a 3.6 million km² surface. On the other hand, the smallest ocean, the Arctic Ocean, comes with a size that is almost four times bigger than the Arabian Sea.
Of course, the difference between sea and ocean does not end there, as they also differ in borders. If you just look at the definition of the ocean, it was indicated that the Earth’s continents surround the ocean.
Salinity of Water
The size and borders of the water body are not the only difference between sea and ocean. The salinity of the water is also a great factor to consider, as water is saltier in the sea than in the ocean.
Of course, it is not about comparing the water’s taste to differentiate the ocean from the sea. The salinity of oceans on average is 35g/L, which is less salty than seas. With that, why are ocean waters less salty? It’s because ocean currents regulate the salinity of oceans. Second, it’s because of thermohaline circulation.
On the other hand, the reason why seas are saltier is because of more water evaporation. Salt does not evaporate, and so does seawater. This is because it has a higher density of sodium chloride.
Another factor that will explain the difference of seas from oceans is the depth.
Usually, the ocean is deeper than the sea, even if seas can be as deep as the big oceans. To understand more, the depth of the Channel is about 174m. The North Sea is only 700m, and the Black Sea is about 2,212m. Other seas are deeper, like the Mediterranean Sea, with 5,267m.
There is also the Sargasso Sea with 7,000m or the Coral Sea with 9,140m. However, the oceans may reach remarkable depths of more than 8,000. Such examples are the Indian Ocean, with 8,047m. The Atlantic Ocean with 8,486m and even the Pacific Ocean with the Mariana Trench may reach about 11,022m. It is the deepest seabed an ocean has ever recorded.
Moreover, because of its depth and largeness, the ocean becomes inhabitable to most marine life. Microscopic planktons, shrimps, and bacteria living.
Bodies of water are the accumulation of water on the Earth’s surface. That’s why it makes a lot of sense to understand the difference between sea and ocean. It helps to clear out misconceptions, and we would be able to take a closer look at the depth, the area, and the marine life.
Now that you know the difference between sea and ocean and clear out any misconceptions between the two, you probably figured out the real differences between some of the man’s favorite summer locations. In the end, what matters is how we take good care of our bodies of water. We could live in an amazing world if we knew how to preserve these God-given bodies of water.
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