Knowing the Atlantic

Continuing from the last article on Pacific, let’s move on to the next ocean- the Atlantic.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on

Hope you remember the acronym- PAISA

  1. Pacific
  2. Atlantic
  3. Indian
  4. Southern
  5. Antarctic

These oceans are arranged in the decreasing order of their sizes.

The Atlantic is the second largest ocean in the whole world with an area of about 106,460,000 km2(source: Wikipedia). It lies between the Americas in the west and Europe and Africa in the east. The equatorial counter current divides the ocean into two equal parts latitudinally and the Mid Atlantic Ridge divides the ocean into two parts longitudinally(It is how the Mid Oceanic Ridge gets its name). The ocean has very few trenches and it is why the ocean is expanding(at a rate of 2-5 cm/year). Continental shelves are found in the areas of Newfoundland, southernmost South America, and north-eastern Europe. Though continental shelves are, in themselves, wonderful fishing grounds and petroleum and gas reserves, the coast off Newfoundland and Bahia Blanca(off the coast of Southern America- Brazil) are meeting points of warm and cold currents. It makes them even better fishing grounds as the amount of Phytoplankton increases in the ocean. It also leads to the formation of fog in the area that makes navigation difficult.

The Atlantic ocean is the saltiest major ocean with a salinity of 33-37 parts per million. Maximum salinity occurs in the subtropical regions. Though the heavy rainfall makes the salinity of the region around the equator lowest, in general salinity decreases as one moves to the poles. The poles also experience higher salinity though, because of the fresh water being occupied in the form of glaciers, decreasing the overall amount of fresh water. The Northern Atlantic clockwise ocean circle and the counter-clockwise South Atlantic ocean circle are the two gyres in the ocean. The flow of ocean currents in the northern hemisphere form Sargasso sea(the world’s only sea without any continental coast). The sea is surrounded by Gulf Stream, North Atlantic drift (and by extension the Canaries Current) and North Equatorial currents. Earthquakes and a few active volcanoes are found along the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The temperature decreases as we move towards the poles (generally) but is influenced by warm ocean currents in some places. Eg. The Norwegian sea ports are functional throughout the whole year as the ocean doesn’t freeze (the warm ocean current – The North Atlantic drift).

This is all about the Atlantic Ocean. I have included all that I label off as important for our general knowledge. But do let me know in the comments if I missed something. Next in the series, as you can all guess, is our Indian ocean-the only ocean to be named after a country.

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