This is a list of seas – large divisions of the World Ocean, including areas of water, variously gulfs, bights, bays, and straits.
There are several terms used for bulges of ocean that result from indentations of land, which overlap in definition, and which are not consistently differentiated:
Many features could be considered to be more than one of these, and all of these terms are used in place names inconsistently; especially bays, gulfs, and bights, which can be very large or very small. This list includes large areas of water no matter the term used in the name.
Sources differ over which seas are considered marginal seas as well as which ocean a given sea is considered a marginal part of. There is no single ultimate authority on the matter.
(coast-wise north to south)
(east to west)
(clockwise from 180°)
Entities called "seas" which are not divisions of the Earth's the World Ocean are not included in this list. Excluded are:
Other items not included:
The Barents Sea (Norwegian: Barentshavet; Russian: Баренцево море, Barentsevo More) is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located off the northern coasts of Norway and Russia and is divided between Norwegian and Russian territorial waters. Known among Russians in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea ("Norwegian Sea"), the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barentsz.
It is a rather shallow shelf sea, with an average depth of 230 metres (750 ft), and is an important site for both fishing and hydrocarbon exploration. The Barents Sea is bordered by the Kola Peninsula to the south, the shelf edge towards the Norwegian Sea to the west, and the archipelagos of Svalbard to the northwest, Franz Josef Land to the northeast and Novaya Zemlya to the east. The islands of Novaya Zemlya, an extension of the northern end of the Ural Mountains, separate the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea.
Despite being part of the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea has been characterised as "turning into the Atlantic" because of its status as "the Arctic warming hot spot." Hydrologic changes due to global warming have led to a reduction in sea ice and in stratification of the water column, which could lead to major changes in weather in Eurasia.Beaufort Sea
The Beaufort Sea (French: Mer de Beaufort) is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Alaska, and west of Canada's Arctic islands. The sea is named after Sir Francis Beaufort, a hydrographer. The Mackenzie River, the longest in Canada, empties into the Canadian part of the Beaufort Sea west of Tuktoyaktuk, which is one of the few permanent settlements on the sea shores.
The sea, characterized by severe climate, is frozen over most of the year. Historically, only a narrow pass up to 100 km (62 mi) opened in August–September near its shores, but recently due to climate change in the Arctic the ice-free area in late summer has greatly enlarged. Claims that the seacoast was populated about 30,000 years ago have been largely discredited (see below); present population density is very low. The sea contains significant resources of petroleum and natural gas under its shelf, such as the Amauligak field. They were discovered in the period between the 1950s and 1980s, and their exploration became the major human activity in the area since the 1980s. The traditional occupations of fishery and whale and seal hunting are practiced only locally, and have no commercial significance. As a result, the sea hosts one of the largest colonies of beluga whales, and there is no sign of overfishing. To prevent overfishing in its waters, the US adopted precautionary commercial fisheries management plan in August 2009. In April 2011 the Canadian government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Inuvialuit as a first step in developing a larger ocean management plan. The Canadian government announced in October 2014 that no new commercial fisheries in the Beaufort Sea will be considered until research has shown sustainable stocks that would be made available to Inuvialuit first.The Canadian government has set a new block of the Beaufort Sea off the Parry Peninsula in the Amundsen as a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The protected area is set to protect species and habits for the Inuvialuit community.Bering Sea
The Bering Sea (Russian: Бе́рингово мо́ре, tr. Béringovo móre) is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It forms, along with The Bering Strait the divide between the two largest landmasses on Earth: Eurasia and The Americas. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves.
The Bering Sea is separated from the Gulf of Alaska by the Alaska Peninsula. It covers over 2,000,000 square kilometers (770,000 sq mi) and is bordered on the east and northeast by Alaska, on the west by Russian Far East and the Kamchatka Peninsula, on the south by the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands and on the far north by the Bering Strait, which connects the Bering Sea to the Arctic Ocean's Chukchi Sea. Bristol Bay is the portion of the Bering Sea which separates the Alaska Peninsula from mainland Alaska. The Bering Sea is named for Vitus Bering, a Danish navigator in Russian service, who in 1728 was the first European to systematically explore it, sailing from the Pacific Ocean northward to the Arctic Ocean.
The Bering Sea ecosystem includes resources within the jurisdiction of the United States and Russia, as well as international waters in the middle of the sea (known as the "Donut Hole"). The interaction between currents, sea ice, and weather makes for a vigorous and productive ecosystem.Borders of the oceans
The borders of the oceans are the limits of the Earth's oceanic waters. The definition and number of oceans can vary depending on the adopted criteria.Chukchi Sea
Chukchi Sea (Russian: Чуко́тское мо́ре, tr. Chukotskoye more, IPA: [tɕʊˈkotskəjə ˈmorʲɪ]), sometimes referred to as the Chukotsk Sea or the Sea of Chukotsk, is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is bounded on the west by the Long Strait, off Wrangel Island, and in the east by Point Barrow, Alaska, beyond which lies the Beaufort Sea. The Bering Strait forms its southernmost limit and connects it to the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The principal port on the Chukchi Sea is Uelen in Russia. The International Date Line crosses the Chukchi Sea from northwest to southeast. It is displaced eastwards to avoid Wrangel Island as well as the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug on the Russian mainland.East Siberian Sea
The East Siberian Sea (Russian: Восто́чно-Сиби́рское мо́ре, tr. Vostochno-Sibirskoye more) is a marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the Arctic Cape to the north, the coast of Siberia to the south, the New Siberian Islands to the west and Cape Billings, close to Chukotka, and Wrangel Island to the east. This sea borders on the Laptev Sea to the west and the Chukchi Sea to the east.
This sea is one of the least studied in the Arctic area. It is characterized by severe climate, low water salinity, and a scarcity of flora, fauna and human population, as well as shallow depths (mostly less than 50 m), slow sea currents, low tides (below 25 cm), frequent fogs, especially in summer, and an abundance of ice fields which fully melt only in August–September. The sea shores were inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous tribes of Yukaghirs, Chukchi and then Evens and Evenks, which were engaged in fishing, hunting and reindeer husbandry. They were then absorbed by Yakuts and later by Russians.
Major industrial activities in the area are mining and navigation within the Northern Sea Route; commercial fishing is poorly developed. The largest city and port is Pevek, the northernmost city of mainland Russia.Greenland Sea
The Greenland Sea is a body of water that borders Greenland to the west, the Svalbard archipelago to the east, Fram Strait and the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Norwegian Sea and Iceland to the south. The Greenland Sea is often defined as part of the Arctic Ocean, sometimes as part of the Atlantic Ocean. However, definitions of the Arctic Ocean and its seas tend to be imprecise or arbitrary. In general usage the term "Arctic Ocean" would exclude the Greenland Sea. In oceanographic studies the Greenland Sea is considered part of the Nordic Seas, along with the Norwegian Sea. The Nordic Seas are the main connection between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans and, as such, could be of great significance in a possible shutdown of thermohaline circulation. In oceanography the Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas are often referred to collectively as the "Arctic Mediterranean Sea", a marginal sea of the Atlantic.The sea has Arctic climate with regular northern winds and temperatures rarely rising above 0 °C (32 °F). It previously contained the Odden ice tongue (or Odden) area, which extended eastward from the main East Greenland ice edge in the vicinity of 72–74°N during the winter and acted as a key winter ice formation area in the Arctic. The West Ice forms in winter in the Greenland Sea, north of Iceland, between Greenland and Jan Mayen island. It is a major breeding ground of harp seal and hooded seal that has been used for seal hunting for more than 200 years.Irminger Sea
The Irminger Sea is a marginal sea of the North Atlantic Ocean.
It was named after Danish vice-admiral Carl Ludvig Christian Irminger (1802–1888), after whom also the Irminger Current was named.Kara Sea
The Kara Sea (Russian: Ка́рское мо́ре, Karskoye more) is part of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia. It is separated from the Barents Sea to the west by the Kara Strait and Novaya Zemlya, and the Laptev Sea to the east by the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago. It is named after the Kara River (flowing into Baydaratskaya Bay), which is now relatively insignificant but which played an important role in the Russian conquest of northern Siberia. The Kara River name is derived from Nenets word meaning "hummocked ice".The Kara Sea's northern limit is marked geographically by a line running from Cape Kohlsaat in Graham Bell Island, Franz Josef Land, to Cape Molotov (Arctic Cape), the northernmost point of Komsomolets Island in Severnaya Zemlya.
The Kara Sea is roughly 1,450 km (900 mi) long and 970 km (600 mi) wide with an area of around 880,000 km2 (339,770 sq mi) and a mean depth of 110 metres (360 ft).
Compared to the Barents Sea, which receives relatively warm currents from the Atlantic, the Kara Sea is much colder, remaining frozen for over nine months a year.
The Kara receives a large amount of fresh water from the Ob, Yenisei, Pyasina, and Taimyra rivers, so its salinity is variable.
Its main ports are Novy Port and Dikson and it is important as a fishing ground although the sea is ice-bound for all but two months of the year. Significant discoveries of petroleum and natural gas, the East-Prinovozemelsky field, an extension of the West Siberian Oil Basin, have been made but have not yet been developed. In 2014, US government sanctions resulted in Exxon having until September 26 to discontinue its operations in the Kara Sea.List of bodies of water by salinity
This is a list of bodies of water by salinity that is limited to natural bodies of water that have a stable salinity above 0.05%, at or below which water is considered fresh.
Water salinity often varies by location and season, particularly with hypersaline lakes in arid areas, so the salinity figures in the table below should be interpreted as an approximate indicator.Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea (Norwegian: Norskehavet) is a marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean, northwest of Norway between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea, adjoining the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a submarine ridge running between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. To the north, the Jan Mayen Ridge separates it from the Greenland Sea.
Unlike many other seas, most of the bottom of the Norwegian Sea is not part of a continental shelf and therefore lies at a great depth of about two kilometres on average. Rich deposits of oil and natural gas are found under the sea bottom and are being explored commercially, in the areas with sea depths of up to about one kilometre. The coastal zones are rich in fish that visit the Norwegian Sea from the North Atlantic or from the Barents Sea (cod) for spawning. The warm North Atlantic Current ensures relatively stable and high water temperatures, so that unlike the Arctic seas, the Norwegian Sea is ice-free throughout the year. Recent research has concluded that the large volume of water in the Norwegian Sea with its large heat absorption capacity is more important as a source of Norway's mild winters than the Gulf Stream and its extensions.Ocean
An ocean (from Ancient Greek Ὠκεανός, transc. Okeanós) is a body of water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere. On Earth, an ocean is one of the major conventional divisions of the World Ocean. These are, in descending order by area, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern (Antarctic), and Arctic Oceans. The word "ocean" is often used interchangeably with "sea" in American English. Strictly speaking, a sea is a body of water (generally a division of the world ocean) partly or fully enclosed by land, though "the sea" refers also to the oceans.
Saline water covers approximately 361,000,000 km2 (139,000,000 sq mi) and is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas, with the ocean covering approximately 71% of Earth's surface and 90% of the Earth's biosphere. The ocean contains 97% of Earth's water, and oceanographers have stated that less than 5% of the World Ocean has been explored. The total volume is approximately 1.35 billion cubic kilometers (320 million cu mi) with an average depth of nearly 3,700 meters (12,100 ft).As the world ocean is the principal component of Earth's hydrosphere, it is integral to life, forms part of the carbon cycle, and influences climate and weather patterns. The World Ocean is the habitat of 230,000 known species, but because much of it is unexplored, the number of species that exist in the ocean is much larger, possibly over two million. The origin of Earth's oceans is unknown; oceans are thought to have formed in the Hadean eon and may have been the impetus for the emergence of life.
Extraterrestrial oceans may be composed of water or other elements and compounds. The only confirmed large stable bodies of extraterrestrial surface liquids are the lakes of Titan, although there is evidence for the existence of oceans elsewhere in the Solar System. Early in their geologic histories, Mars and Venus are theorized to have had large water oceans. The Mars ocean hypothesis suggests that nearly a third of the surface of Mars was once covered by water, and a runaway greenhouse effect may have boiled away the global ocean of Venus. Compounds such as salts and ammonia dissolved in water lower its freezing point so that water might exist in large quantities in extraterrestrial environments as brine or convecting ice. Unconfirmed oceans are speculated beneath the surface of many dwarf planets and natural satellites; notably, the ocean of the moon Europa is estimated to have over twice the water volume of Earth. The Solar System's giant planets are also thought to have liquid atmospheric layers of yet to be confirmed compositions. Oceans may also exist on exoplanets and exomoons, including surface oceans of liquid water within a circumstellar habitable zone. Ocean planets are a hypothetical type of planet with a surface completely covered with liquid.Oceanography
Oceanography (compound of the Greek words ὠκεανός meaning "ocean" and γράφω meaning "write"), also known as oceanology, is the study of the physical and biological aspects of the ocean. It is an important Earth science, which covers a wide range of topics, including ecosystem dynamics; ocean currents, waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics; plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor; and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries. These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the world ocean and understanding of processes within: astronomy, biology, chemistry, climatology, geography, geology, hydrology, meteorology and physics. Paleoceanography studies the history of the oceans in the geologic past.Prince Gustav Adolf Sea
Prince Gustav Adolf Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean located in Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada.Queen Victoria Sea
The Queen Victoria Sea (Russian: Море королевы Виктории, Morye Korolevy Viktorii) is a body of water in the Arctic Ocean, stretching from northeast of Svalbard to northwest Franz Josef Land. It is obstructed by ice most of the year.
This sea is named after Queen Victoria. Russian Arctic explorer Valentin Akkuratov claimed that a branch of the Gulf Stream reached as far north as the Queen Victoria Sea.Seven Seas
The "Seven Seas" (as in the idiom "sail the Seven Seas") is an ancient phrase for all of the world's oceans. Since the 19th century, the term has been taken to include seven oceanic bodies of water:
the Arctic Ocean
the North Atlantic Ocean
the South Atlantic Ocean
the Indian Ocean
the North Pacific Ocean
the South Pacific Ocean
the Southern (or Antarctic) Oceanthe Caribbean sea/the Gulf of Mexico
The World Ocean is also collectively known as just "the sea.” The International Hydrographic Organization lists over 70 distinct bodies of water called seas.Tasman Sea
The Tasman Sea (Māori: Te Tai-o-Rehua, Pitcairn-Norfolk: Tasman Sii) is a marginal sea of the South Pacific Ocean, situated between Australia and New Zealand. It measures about 2,000 km (1,200 mi) across and about 2,800 km (1,700 mi) from north to south. The sea was named after the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, who was the first recorded European to encounter New Zealand and Tasmania. British explorer Captain James Cook later extensively navigated the Tasman Sea in the 1770s as part of his first voyage of exploration.The Tasman Sea is informally referred to in both Australian and New Zealand English as the Ditch; for example, crossing the Ditch means travelling to Australia from New Zealand, or vice versa. The diminutive term "the Ditch" used for the Tasman Sea is comparable to referring to the North Atlantic Ocean as "the Pond".Wandel Sea
The Wandel Sea (Danish: Wandelhavet also known as McKinley Sea) is a body of water in the Arctic Ocean, stretching from northeast of Greenland to Svalbard. It is obstructed by ice most of the year.
This sea is named after Danish polar explorer and hydrographer, Vice Admiral Carl Frederick Wandel, who in years 1895–96 explored the coastal waters of Greenland as part of the Danish Ingolf Expedition.
Lists of bodies of water