Atlantic Ocean

As one of five components of the interconnected World Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean is connected in the north to the Arctic Ocean, in the southwest to the Pacific Ocean, in the southeast to the Indian Ocean, and in the south to the Southern Ocean. Covering 29% of Earth’s water surface, as well as 20% of Earth’s entire surface, the Atlantic is the world’s 2nd-largest ocean, next to the Pacific. Its deepest point, the Milwaukee Deep off Puerto Rico, reaches a depth of 27,500 feet, or the equivalent height of the Empire State Building stacked upon itself 19 times! The ocean’s western shores encompass the coasts of North, Central, and South America, while on the other side of “The Pond” (as it’s colloquially known by the Americans and Europeans), its shores encompass almost all of western Europe and all of western and northern Africa.

The Atlantic has irregular coasts which are indented by numerous bays, gulfs, and seas, the largest of which (as measured in km2) are the:

  1. Sargasso Sea – 3.5 million km2
  2. Caribbean Sea – 2.754 million km2
  3. Mediterranean Sea – 2.510 million km2
  4. Gulf of Guinea – 2.35 million km2
  5. Gulf of Mexico – 1.550 million km2
  6. Norwegian Sea – 1.383 million km2
  7. Hudson Bay – 1.23 million km2
  8. Greenland Sea – 1.205 million km2
  9. Argentine Sea – 1 million km2
  10. Labrador Sea – 841,000 km2
  11. Irminger Sea – 780,000 km2
  12. Baffin Bay – 689,000 km2
  13. North Sea – 575,000 km2
  14. Black Sea – 436,000 km2
  15. Baltic Sea – 377,000 km2
  16. Libyan Sea – 350,000 km2
  17. Levantine Sea – 320,000 km2
  18. Celtic Sea – 300,000 km2
  19. Tyrrhenian Sea – 275,000 km2
  20. Gulf of Saint Lawrence – 226,000 km2
  21. Bay of Biscay – 223,000 km2
  22. Aegean Sea – 214,000 km2
  23. Ionian Sea – 169,000 km2
  24. Balearic Sea – 150,000 km2
  25. Adriatic Sea – 138,000 km2
  26. Gulf of Bothnia – 116,300 km2
  27. Sea of Crete – 95,000 km2
  28. Gulf of Maine – 93,000 km2
  29. Ligurian Sea – 80,000 km2
  30. English Channel – 75,000 km2
  31. James Bay – 68,300 km2
  32. Bothnian Sea – 66,000 km2
  33. Gulf of Sidra – 57,000 km2
  34. Sea of the Hebrides – 47,000 km2
  35. Irish Sea – 46,000 km2
  36. Sea of Azov – 39,000 km2
  37. Bothnian Bay – 36,800 km2
  38. Gulf of Venezuela – 17,840 km2
  39. Bay of Campeche – 16,000 km2
  40. Gulf of Lion – 15,000 km2
  41. Sea of Marmara – 11,350 km2
  42. Wadden Sea – 10,000 km2
  43. Archipelago Sea – 8,300 km2

The warm, moist air of the Southern Atlantic regularly brings heavy rain and hurricanes to Central America and the eastern coast of the United States (including the notorious “Nor’easter”), as well as heavy fog to the eastern coast of Canada. Likewise, the comparatively cool waters off African also frequently bring dense fog to its northwestern coast. With a surface water salinity ranging from 33-37 parts per thousand (or 3.3-3.7%), the Atlantic is the saltiest major ocean.

In terms of wildlife, many birds follow a migration route called the Atlantic Flyway, which merges with several shorter routes along the coast of North America near Florida before continuing over Mexico into the Caribbean Sea. Unfortunately, due to factors such as pollution, oil spills, overfishing, entanglement, and illegal harvesting, the Atlantic is also home to several endangered species, including whales, dolphins, manatees, birds, and fish. And floating within the North Atlantic Gyre, an enormous “garbage patch” of concentrated trash and micro-plastics covers an area measuring hundreds of miles across and with a trash density of some 120,000 pieces of debris per square mile! The debris zone is also known to shift by as much as 990 miles north-south seasonally. 

  • Viewed:
    • North America:
      • U.S.A. (Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana); Bermuda; The Bahamas; Turks & Caicos Islands; Dominican Republic
    • Central America & South America:
      • Mexico (Cancun, Cozumel); Belize; Honduras (Roatan); Costa Rica; Panama; Colombia; Venezuela (Margarita Is.)
    • The Caribbean:
      • U.S.A. (Puerto Rico, USVI, Florida Keys); U.K. (BVI, Cayman Islands); Barbados; Trinidad & Tobago; Antigua & Barbuda; France (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin); Grenada; Jamaica; The Netherlands (Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten); Saint Kitts & Nevis; Saint Lucia
    • Europe:
      • Spain; Portugal; Great Britain (Scotland, Wales, England); Norway; Iceland; Finland; Sweden; Russia; Germany; Estonia; Denmark; The Netherlands; France; Italy; Croatia; Greece; Turkey; Montenegro; Malta
    • Africa:
      • Morocco

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