espere > ENC Master > Climate Encyclopaedia > Oceans > basics > 1. Oceans and climate

The Oceans


Unit 1
Oceans and climate

Water has amazing properties which help to control our climate and make life on Earth possible.  Although we call our planet Earth, only 29% of its area is actually land; the rest is covered by water and almost all of this water is in the oceans.  Ocean waters continuously move around the globe as if they were on a huge conveyor belt, moving from the surface waters to the deep and back again.  Wind, the saltiness of the water and temperature all control this movement.  This ocean circulation helps to spread the heat from the Sun throughout the Earth. 


The oceans also take up huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Around a quarter of the carbon dioxide we humans produce by burning fossil fuels ends up being stored in the oceans. In some ocean areas this carbon can be stored for centuries, helping to reduce the effects of global warming.



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