Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Steven Gray & David Howe & Rebecca Jordan
OCEANS ARE CONNECTED bodies of saline water that cover about three-quarters of the Earth and comprise more than 97 percent of the worlds total water resources. Although continuous, the global ocean is divided into five oceans based on geographic location, geological barriers, and other criteria, into the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern oceans. Oceans have great influence on global weather patterns and climate. This influence stems from variations in ocean temperature caused chiefly by the movement of radiant solar heat absorbedby the oceans surface. Recently, atmospheric changes and resultant changes in chemical and physical attributes of the oceans, including temperature, salinity, and acidity have threatened the global oceans stability. For example, sea level has been rising due to thermal expansion and melting of the worlds ice. This retreat of ice causes further absorption of radiant energy from the Sun into the darker colored sea that might otherwise have been ...