Know your Ocean The World Ocean

What is the World Ocean, and why is it important?

Oceans are a true source of plenty. Our World Ocean provides us with the air we breathe and regulates our climate and weather patterns. This interconnected water system is important for transportation, recreation, food, medicine, and more - it is a vital part of our existence.

Life on Earth came from the ocean and continues to rely on ocean water in many ways. Oceans cover three-quarters of the planet and hold about 97% of the planet's water. Even far from the sea, there is oxygen from tiny ocean plants called phytoplankton in every breath we take. These plants produce more than half the world's oxygen. In addition, ocean waters absorb carbon dioxide emissions, helping keep our atmosphere in balance.

Oceans also help regulate Earth's weather and climate systems. Ocean currents transfer heat around the world, and storms and hurricanes are formed in tropical ocean waters. Storms are part of the water cycle that provides fresh water to all living things. However, global warming and changes in ocean temperature are leading to more destructive, unpredictable hurricanes and monsoons. Keeping the ocean healthy is key to maintaining a healthy global climate.

The World Ocean is one of our planet's most important natural resources. Whether we live on the coast or far inland, whether we eat seafood or not, we all depend on the ocean to thrive, now and in the future.