oceans of the world

Oceans of the World

How Many Oceans of the World Are There?

Because all the oceans of the world are joined together there’s really only one ocean. But, by international agreement, it has been divided into distinct bodies of water.

Before 2000 there were four oceans of the world: the Atlantic ocean, Pacific ocean, Indian ocean and the Arctic ocean. In 2000 a fifth ocean, the Southern Ocean (also know as the Antarctic Ocean or the Austral Ocean), consisting of the icy waters of the circumpolar sea around Antarctica, was recognized by most (but not all) members of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). At ADDucation we’re going with the flow and listing all five oceans of the world.

Oceans currently cover around 71% of the Earth’s surface. But this percentage may change. Recently, a massive reservoir of water three times the volume of all the “surface” oceans was discovered way below the Earth’s surface. This may help explain where all the water came from as many geologists previously thought water arrived in comets hitting our planet.

Sadly the oceans are increasingly drowning in plastic with an estimated 120,000 pieces of plastic per square mile (46,000 per square kilometer) killing millions of marine birds, mammals and fish every year.

ADDucation Tips: Click column headings with arrows to sort oceans of the world. Click the + icon to show any hidden columns. Set your browser to full screen to show as many columns as possible. Start typing in the Filter table box to find anything inside the table of Oceans of the World.

Oceans of the worldPacific OceanAtlantic OceanIndian OceanSouthern (Antarctic) OceanArctic Ocean
StatisticsCovers 28% of the Earth and contains over 50% of all the water on the planet. Named in 1520 by explorer Ferdinand Magellan because of its calmness. So big all the world’s continents would fit in itCovers approx 20% of the water on the Earth’s surface.
Includes seas like the Baltic, Caribbean Sea, Black Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Mediterranean and North Sea
Covers approx 20% of the water on the Earth’s surface. Named more after the East Indies than India4th largest, and only an ocean since 2000 when International Hydrographic Organization created it taking away from Pacific, Atlantic and Indian OceansSmallest ocean covered by ice for most of the year, though the 10 feet (3 m) thick icepacks are mostly melting in summer because of global warming
Deepest part of ocean“Vitiaz Deep” (formerly Challenger Deep) in the Mariana Trench. More than a mile (1.6 km) deeper than Mount Everest is highMilwaukee Deep in the Puerto Rico TrenchIndian Java Trench (or Sunda Double Trench)South Sandwich TrenchEurasian Basin
Approx area
(sq mi)
64,000,000 square miles41,000,000 square miles28,000,000 square miles7,800,000 square miles5,400,000 square miles
Approx area
(km2)
166,240,000 km280,000,000 km274,900,000 km220,300,000 km214,000,000 km2
Deepest point (feet)36,00028,50024,50023,50018,000
Deepest point (meters)11,0008,6007,5007,0005,500
Average depth (feet)13,75012,25012,75014,5003,400
Average depth (meters)4,1903,8703,8854,5001,040
Largest Marginal Seas
  • Philippine Sea (2,000,000 sq mi)
  • Coral Sea (1,850,000 sq mi)
  • South China Sea (1,400,000 sq mi)
  • Bering Sea (770,000 sq mi)
  • East China Sea (485,000 sq mi)
  • Yellow Sea (150,000 sq mi)
  • Celebes Sea (110,000 sq mi)
  • Caribbean Sea (1,065,000 square miles)
  • Mediterranean Sea (970,000 square miles)
  • Gulf of Mexico (600.000 square miles)
  • Norwegian Sea (534,000 square miles)
  • Hudson Bay (470,000 square miles)
  • North Sea (220,000 square miles)
  • Arabian Sea (1,490,000 square miles)
  • Bay of Bengal (839,000 square miles)
  • Andaman Sea (232,000 square miles)
  • Red Sea (190,000 square miles)
  • Java Sea (120,000 square miles)
  • Persian Gulf (97,000 square miles)
  • Scotia Sea (347,000 square miles)
  • Barents Sea (540,000 square miles)
  • Greenland Sea (465,000 square miles)
  • East Siberian Sea (381,000 square miles)
  • Kara Sea (358,000 square miles
  • Laptev Sea (270,000 square miles)
  • Baffin Bay (266,000 square miles)
  • Chukchi Sea (240,000 square miles)

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2 responses to “Oceans of the World”

  1. Joe says:

    Hi Alison, thanks for your comment, the Atlantic ocean is correctly labelled. I’m guessing you meant the “Antarctic Ocean”? As we mentioned in the intro it’s now more commonly referred to as the Southern Ocean so we’ve updated the graphic.

  2. Alison says:

    the Atlantic ocean is actually called the southern ocean

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