Oceanography

Oceanography is the study of the biological and physical properties of the world’s largest bodies of water, the oceans.

Oceanography is a branch of Earth science and geography that studies the oceans, including their physical and biological aspects, as well as the interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere, land, and other bodies of water. It involves the study of ocean currents, waves, tides, temperature, salinity, and other physical characteristics, as well as the diverse array of marine life that inhabits the world’s oceans.

The current US Exclusive Economic Zone is delineated by yellow outlines. As of January 2021, 53 percent of the United States' ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waterways were unmapped. Map: NOAA Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping.

53% of U.S. Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Waters are Unmapped

Caitlin Dempsey

According to a new report by the United States' federal Interagency Working Group on Ocean Coastal Mapping, 53 percent of the country's ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes water is still unmapped.

Map showing the world's ocean gyres. Source: NOAA.

How Ocean Currents Move Pollution Around the World

Katarina Samurović

How does pollution from plastic, trash, and oil spills move around Earth's oceans?

A father and daughter look out at the Pacific Ocean.

How Much Would the Ocean Rise if Everyone Sat in it?

Geo Contributor

If everyone in the world decided to sit in the ocean all at once, how much would the sea level rise?

The Atlantic Ocean in Acadia, Maine. Photo: NPS Photo/Kristi Rugg.

How Many Oceans are There in the World?

Caitlin Dempsey

The world is made up of: one global ocean, three major oceans, four historic oceans, and five world oceans.

Map showing the location of New Guinea. Map: Equal Earth Physical Map, public domain.

What is the Largest Island in the Pacific Ocean?

Caitlin Dempsey

New Guinea is the largest island in the Pacific Ocean.