Towards the Ocean Generation. Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
The Earth has one big ocean with many features
Though the five ocean basins (Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Southern, and Indian) can be considered as separate bodies, they are interconnected as one global ocean. The connections among the ocean basins allow seawater, matter, and organisms to move from one basin to another.
Throughout the global ocean, there is one interconnected circulation system that is powered by winds, tides, the force of the Earth's rotation, the Sun, and water density differences. This circulation system creates a moving conveyor belt of linked surface and deep-water currents.
The Ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of the Earth
Sea level changes, wave and tidal action, and tectonic activities also influence the many possible formations of the world's coastal areas, including the geological structure of hills and mountains that can be observed and visited today.
The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate
Ocean currents allow the ocean to absorb, store, and transfer heat. These abilities allow the ocean to have a major influence on climate. Most rain that falls on land originally evaporated from the ocean. As water evaporates from the ocean it transforms into water vapor that is incorporated into the atmosphere. Some of this water vapor rises and helps to form the clouds from which rain falls.
The ocean makes the Earth habitable
Scientists have theorized that life on Earth most likely originated in the sea.
The ocean is not only where life is thought to originate but it has also generated much of the oxygen that is required by many of Earth 's organisms. The ocean continues to provide water, oxygen, and nutrients and moderates the climate needed for life to exist on Earth.
The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems
Ocean ecosystems are numerous and diverse. They include the abyssal plain, polar regions, coral reefs, the deep ocean, mangroves, kelp forests, salt marshes, and sandy shores, among others.
Marine biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms in the ocean: microbes, invertebrates, fishes, marine mammals, plants and birds.
The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected
We depend on the ocean for many resources and not only for food: the ocean is a source of organisms that provide new and potent medicines, as well as new products for use in biotechnology.
The ocean supports the livelihoods of more than three billion people, as well as the stability of national economies. Our health and wellbeing depends upon the services provided by these ecosystems and their components: water, soil, nutrients and organisms.
The ocean is largely unexplored
Our everyday lives are connected to the ocean’s depths. There are opportunities and challenges in this previously hidden realm, and yet, despite the size and importance of the ocean, less than 30% percent of it has been mapped. The global map of the ocean floor is therefore less detailed than maps of Mars, the Moon, or Venus.