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Ocean waters: what are they, characteristics and importance

Did you know that ocean waters represent nothing more and nothing less than 71% of the Earth’s surface? At present, various theories have tried to explain how ocean waters originated on the planet, including the possibility that they arose about 4 billion years ago, due to periods of intense volcanic activity and high temperatures, which did It is possible that the original thick layers of ice melted and water was found in a liquid state. This liquid water is currently distributed throughout the planet, separating continents, surrounding islands and guaranteeing the survival of millions of marine species. For this reason, the protection and conservation of each and every one of the world’s oceans is vital,

In this AgroCorrn article we will dive into the depths of the oceans to learn about ocean waters, what they are, characteristics and importance , to better understand this precious and valuable natural asset for the development of life on Earth.

What are ocean waters

The ocean waters are one of the most important biological components and highlights from the planet Earth since its formation millions of years ago. At present they correspond to the largest water masses on the planet, and are formed by the water of the five great oceans that constitute it: the Pacific Ocean (188 million km 2 of surface), the Atlantic (surface of 94 million km 2 ), the Indian Ocean (area of ​​74 million km 2 ), the Antarctic (20 million km 2 of area) and the Arctic Ocean (14 million km2 surface).

In oceanic waters, three elements are of vital importance for the proper functioning of these incredible and amazing ecosystems:

  • Marine currents: they move due to the action of the wind, following its direction and having more or less movement depending on the strength of these winds. In addition, the famous Coriolis effect (determined by the direction of the Earth’s rotation), establishes that the ocean currents turn clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the south. There are different marine currents, to which names of countries and continental areas in which they are found are attributed, such as the Canary Islands currents (Spain-Morocco), the California current (USA) and the Eastern Australian current. All these currents occur near the surface of the oceans and often influence the climatic conditions of the continental areas with which they border.
  • The waves: the main constituent elements of the marine currents, the waves give life to the waters that reach the coasts, which suffer the constant erosion that the force of the waves generates when shaping the coastal land surfaces. Below you can see a short video about the waves.
  • The tides: caused by the force of gravity of the Moon and the Sun, the tides mark the rates of rise and fall of the oceanic waters that wash the coasts, beaches and cliffs of coastal regions around the world.

In the next sections we will see in more detail what other characteristics define ocean waters, as well as their importance and the role they play in the balance of the planet as a “whole”.

Characteristics of ocean waters

The general characteristics of all the world’s oceans include specific elements and properties of these waters, such as:

  • Average depth of about 3,900 meters, depending on the oceanic relief that defines the area.
  • Temperatures ranging between 12 and 30ºC in the surface layers of temperate waters, and between 6 and -1ºC below said layer.
  • The salinity of the oceans, represented by the amount of sodium chloride dissolved in water, constitutes 90% of the chemical components that appear dissolved in ocean waters. This chemical composition is complemented by some elements such as magnesium, sulfur, potassium and calcium.
  • Directly related to its salinity, the density of oceanic waters is greater than that of fresh waters, reaching densities of more than 1,000 kilograms per m 3 . This high density characteristic of ocean waters can be easily appreciated with the ability of materials and organisms to float in these dense and saline waters.
  • Oceanic waters have a characteristic blue color, due, among other reasons, to the absorption of photons from the spectrum of red light that water molecules carry out when they receive incident solar rays, which they reflect in blue tones.

Importance of ocean waters

Source of innumerable riches and surprising biodiversity, ocean waters are one of the most important and precious assets for many of the living organisms that inhabit the Earth.

Oceanic waters are responsible for transporting with them the nutrients , both plant and animal, that different communities and populations of animals need in each of the coastal regions of the planet. This fact is possible thanks to the marine currents that turn ocean waters into habitats in constant movement and balance.

Another of the main values ​​of these waters is due to the important role they play in the thermoregulation of the planet , since, at a global level, oceanic waters self-regulate the amounts of carbon dioxide and oxygen present in the atmosphere (by action of phytoplankton ), in addition to keeping the life cycle of millions of species of animals, plants, invertebrates and all kinds of microorganisms in balance .

Regarding the importance they have within anthropic ecosystems, their function as a link between the different continents of the planet stands out, facilitating the transport of all kinds of marine goods, ships and boats.

In these other AgroCorrn articles you can learn everything about the biodiversity of the oceans and World Oceans Day and its importance . In addition, precisely due to this great importance for life on the planet, it is vital to learn how to avoid pollution of the seas and oceans and, therefore, here we give you information about it.

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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