How large is the ocean? How deep is
the ocean? What lives in the ocean? What causes the currents,
and other conditions in the ocean, to change? Does the ocean affect
the weather on land? How can we explore the ocean?
People have asked questions about the global ocean for thousands
of years. Even so, we still know relatively little about this
watery world compared to habitats on land. In fact, people have
spent dramatically more time and money learning about outer space
than we have about our own "inner space" here on Earth
-- the ocean!
Think about some ways people have interacted with the ocean over
time. Then click on the image below
to navigate through a timeline of Ocean Exploration.
is it important to study the ocean?
The ocean covers almost 75% of the planet. It affects the lives
of every plant and animal on Earth (including people) either directly
or indirectly. Take a moment to reflect on why you think it is
important to study the ocean, and then compare your reasons to
the ones below.
1. The ocean is vast. It
covers nearly 75% of the Earth's surface.
2. The ocean is controls Earth's
climate. It is tightly linked to
the atmosphere, controlling the weather patterns around the globe.
3. The ocean is diverse.
It is believed that there may be more undiscovered species in
the ocean than on land.
4. The ocean is a valuable human
resource. Much of our planet's population
relies on the ocean as a major source of food, especially protein.
5. The ocean helps maintain
Earth's oxygen balance. It serves
as a huge reservoir for carbon dioxide (CO2), which is critical
to the chemical balance of the Earth's atmosphere.
6. The ocean is vital to transportation.
A majority of consumer goods are
transported around the globe via the ocean.
7. The ocean is a neighbor.
More people than ever around the globe are living on or near the
8. The ocean offers employment.
Many people directly or indirectly make a living from the ocean
and its resources.