What is the Difference between Sea and Ocean?

Posted: 10-02-2022

What is the Difference between Sea and Ocean?

The phrase water bodies refers to the water on the surface of the earth. It is used to talk about the seas, oceans, lakes, rivers, and other such bodies. When we think about the categorization of the water bodies based on the definitions of the terms, there are a few misconceptions and due to that, it is quite importance to understand the difference among them and understand the significance of the water bodies that being referred to.

Most of the water that we have on earth is stored in the oceans, seas, and other such smaller water channels. Geographically speaking, when we look at it from that perspective, waters covers the majority of the earth’s surface. This majority totals up to about 71 percent, the rest is land.

The water bodies supply half of the oxygen that we have in our world. In addition to this, it also provides the earth’s atmosphere with carbon. The water bodies influence the climate of the earth by constantly transferring water from the equator towards the north and south poles, which maintains the climate of both the places. No place remains unbearably warm or cold at any time of the year.

How can we understand what the sea and ocean are?

Sea and ocean are two interchangeable terms, however, there is a slight difference in the two of them, technically, not actually since these two are water bodies on earth.

What is an ocean?

An ocean refers to the large body of water that is entirely exposed. When we talk about the entire division of the earth into water and land, the water masses that can be seen are the oceans. The five oceans that we have on the surface of the earth is just a very vast and interconnected water body. These are significantly larger in size and deeper than all water bodies. Oceans are comprised of saline water. From the oceans, the water body which is closer to the land, where its vastness meets the land, and where the depth of the water body decreases, we meet the sea.

What is a sea?

A sea is a smaller water body which is touches the land, even if it is doing so partly. In a way, it can possibly be said that seas are found in the places where the ocean meets the land. Where the oceans meet the land, that water body or rather that area is less deep and is comprised of saline water. There are seven seas on the surface of the earth and they all are somehow, in one way or the other, touching the land. Since it is closer to the land, its depth decreases, and marine life can be found there in abundance, which is why people fish in the sea and not the ocean. This area is best for the marine life to build its habitat. The marine life, however, is based on the temperature and the location of the sea. Based on these two factors, we can see the difference in the variety of the marine life in a single sea.

Difference between sea and ocean

Provided that the terms are not that clear, the difference between a sea and an ocean will now be highlighted on the bases of comparison.

  • Meaning

Oceans are the water bodies that cover most of the earth’s surface, while the sea is a body of saline water which is enclosed by land, partially.

  • Size

Oceans are larger in size while the sea is smaller. We can say that, in a way, the sea is a part of an ocean.

  • Water

The kind of water in both the water bodies is the same, and the term used for the water is saline.

  • Depth

The depth of the ocean is significantly more than the sea. The seas are comparatively less deep as compared to the oceans.

  • Uses

The oceans are known for their industrial uses like mining for the natural gasses and oil which the seas are utilized in commercial uses like fishing and recreational sports activities.

Water is saltier in the sea than it is in the ocean

The salinity of the water is a significant factor to take into account when talking about the differences between a sea and an ocean. The salinity of the water cannot be checked by mere tasting. One cannot possibly taste and tell if they are tasting sea water or ocean water. The water in the ocean is less salty than the water in the sea.

Why is the water in the sea saltier?

Oceans currents make it possible for the salinity of the oceans to regulate due to the thermohaline circulation which keeps moving the water in a continuous pattern. In addition to this, the sea is saltier since there is more evaporation and in such a case, only the water evaporates. The salt stays in the exactly same quantity in the water that decreases. This makes the water have a larger quantity of sodium chloride in it.

The difference made by the depth of the water body

Another element which makes a significant difference in the ocean turning into a sea is the difference in depth of the two. Oceans are much deeper than the sea and when a water body gets closer to the land, one of the difference that comes in its structure is the change in the depth. The depth decreases.

In addition to all of this, the oceans do not have a large number of aquatic plants which is due to its depth. The sunlight cannot possibly reach the bottom of the ocean and this results in no photosynthesis taking place. Mostly, the industrial purposes were fulfilled from the oceans. One of these purposes was mining for the natural gas, crude oil, and other such things which can possibly be obtained from the ocean.