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The sea, the world ocean, or simply the ocean is the connected body of salty water that covers about 71% of Earth's surface (361,132,000 square kilometres [139,434,000 sq mi]), with a total volume of roughly 1,332,000,000 cubic kilometres [320,000,000 cu mi]. It moderates Earth's climate and has important roles in the water cycle, carbon cycle, and nitrogen cycle. It has been travelled and explored since ancient times, while the scientific study of the sea—oceanography—dates broadly from the voyages of Captain James Cook to explore the Pacific Ocean between 1768 and 1779. The word sea is also used to denote smaller, partly landlocked sections of the ocean and certain large, entirely landlocked, saltwater lakes, such as the Caspian Sea and the Dead Sea.

The most abundant solid dissolved in seawater is sodium chloride. The water also contains salts of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and mercury , amongst many other elements, some in minute concentrations. Salinity varies widely, being lower near the surface and the mouths of large rivers and higher in the depths of the ocean; however, the relative proportions of dissolved salts varies little across the oceans. Winds blowing over the surface of the sea produce waves, which break when they enter shallow water. Winds also create surface currents through friction, setting up slow but stable circulations of water throughout the oceans. The directions of the circulation are governed by factors including the shapes of the continents and Earth's rotation (the Coriolis effect). Deep-sea currents, known as the global conveyor belt, carry cold water from near the poles to every ocean. Tides, the generally twice-daily rise and fall of sea levels, are caused by Earth's rotation and the gravitational effects of the orbiting Moon and, to a lesser extent, of the Sun. Tides may have a very high range in bays or estuaries. Submarine earthquakes arising from tectonic plate movements under the oceans can lead to destructive tsunamis, as can volcanoes, huge landslides or the impact of large meteorites.

A wide variety of organisms, including bacteria, protists, algae, plants, fungi, and animals, live in the sea, which offers a wide range of marine habitats and ecosystems, ranging vertically from the sunlit surface and shoreline to the great depths and pressures of the cold, dark abyssal zone, and in latitude from the cold waters under polar ice caps to the colourful diversity of coral reefs in tropical regions. Many of the major groups of organisms evolved in the sea and life may have started there.

The sea provides substantial supplies of food for humans, mainly fish, but also shellfish, mammals and seaweed, whether caught by fishermen or farmed underwater. Other human uses of the sea include trade, travel, mineral extraction, power generation, warfare, and leisure activities such as swimming, sailing, and scuba diving. Many of these activities create marine pollution. The sea is important in human culture, with major appearances in literature at least since Homer's Odyssey, in marine art, in cinema, in theatre and in classic music.

Sea Media

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ISS042E135486 (01/10/2015) --- Just another sunny day in the Caribbean sea as viewed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. This image was tweeted out by NASA astronaut Terry Virts as he captured the Earth observation of #Cuba and #Bahamas on Jan. 10, 2015. iss042e135486

ISS042E135486 (01/10/2015) --- Just another sunny day in the Caribbean...

ISS042E135486 (01/10/2015) --- Just another sunny day in the Caribbean sea as viewed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. This image was tweeted out by NASA astronaut Terry Virts as he captured... More

Ocean liners: John Currie - Mauretania

Ocean liners: John Currie - Mauretania

This photograph is taken in Canada Dock in Liverpool, 1909. The gentleman in uniform is “Mauretania’s” first Chief Engineer, John Currie. ..RMS MAURETANIA was one of the most famous ships ever built on Tyneside... More

Modeling a bathing suit at Villa Vizcaya - Miami

Modeling a bathing suit at Villa Vizcaya - Miami

Persistent URL: floridamemory.com/items/show/46856 ( http://floridamemory.com/items/show/46856 ) ..Local call number: RP06108..Title: Modeling a bathing suit at Villa Vizcaya - Miami..Date: ca 1960..Physical de... More

The Pinnevik bathe in Lysekil, Bohuslän, Sweden

The Pinnevik bathe in Lysekil, Bohuslän, Sweden

Caravans at the Pinnevik bathe in Lysekil. The car furthest to the left is a 1951 Chevrolet. ..Husvagnar vid Pinneviksbadet i Lysekil. Bilen längst till vänster är en Chevrolet 1951. ..Parish (socken): Lysekil ... More

Terracotta volute lamp with sea monster

Terracotta volute lamp with sea monster

On the lamp, a sea monster is depicted before a walled city. Imperial

Sea Horse Pendant
Cuthbert praying in the sea from BL YT 26, f. 24

Cuthbert praying in the sea from BL YT 26, f. 24

Miniature of Cuthbert praying in the sea, while the spy watches him above; at the lower right, Cuthbert emerges from the sea to have his feet miraculously dried by otters, from Chapter 10 of Bede's prose Life o... More

Cuthbert at sea from BL YT 26, f. 26

Cuthbert at sea from BL YT 26, f. 26

Cuthbert in a boat at sea, with two other men, from Chapter 11 of Bede's prose Life of St Cuthbert. Image taken from f. 26 of Prose Life of Cuthbert; extracts from the Historia Ecclesiastica (History of the Eng... More

Song of the Sea from BL Add 15251, ff. 49v-50

Song of the Sea from BL Add 15251, ff. 49v-50

Full floral border with medallions inhabited by animals, at the Song of the Sea (Ex. 15: 1-18). Image taken from ff. 49v-50 of Bible (the 'Duke of Sussex's Italian Bible') with ~masorah magna~ and ~parva~. Writ... More

The beast rises from the sea from BL Add 38842, f. 4v

The beast rises from the sea from BL Add 38842, f. 4v

Full page with a single-column miniature of the beast with seven heads rising from the sea. Image taken from f. 4v of Apocalypse with commentary in French prose (a fragment from chapters 9-16). Written in French.

King Nascien being given bread at sea from BL Add 10292, f. 56v

King Nascien being given bread at sea from BL Add 10292, f. 56v

Miniature of King Nascien alone in a boat being given bread by the commander of a ship. Image taken from f. 56v of L'estoire del Saint Graal (ff. 1-76); L'estoire de Merlin (ff. 76-216). Written in French.

Celidoine watching two ships in danger at sea from BL Add 10292, f. 36v

Celidoine watching two ships in danger at sea from BL Add 10292, f. 36...

Miniature of the young Celidoine on an island watching a storm at sea with two Persian ships in great danger, one containing King Label. Image taken from f. 36v of L'estoire del Saint Graal (ff. 1-76); L'estoir... More

Sea battle from BL Harley 4418, f. 190

Sea battle from BL Harley 4418, f. 190

Miniature of a sea battle. Image taken from f. 190 of Jean d'Arras, Roman de Mélusine (imperfect). Written in French.

Two ships at sea from BL Add 10292, f. 61

Two ships at sea from BL Add 10292, f. 61

Detail of page with miniature of two ships, one containing armed knights, the other King Nascien, his queen and their companions. Image taken from f. 61 of L'estoire del Saint Graal (ff. 1-76); L'estoire de Mer... More

Ships at sea from BL Harley 4482, f. 26v

Ships at sea from BL Harley 4482, f. 26v

Historiated initial 'C'(i) with two ships full of soldiers during a battle at sea. Image taken from f. 26v of Le Roman de Troie (index Histoire de Troie). Written in French.

Map of the Caspian Sea from BL Harley 3686, f. 98

Map of the Caspian Sea from BL Harley 3686, f. 98

Map of the region east of the Caspian Sea. Image taken from f. 98 of Geography (index Cosmographie primus), translated by Jacopo Angeli da Scarperia, with eighteen maps of Europe, Asia and Africa (index portola... More

Sea Onion from BL Eg 747, f. 94v

Sea Onion from BL Eg 747, f. 94v

Miniature of a squilla, or sea onion (squill) plant. Image taken from f. 94v of Tractatus de herbis (Herbal); De Simplici Medicina (index Secreta Salernitana); Circa instans; Antidotarium Nicolai. Written in Latin.

Love-in-a-Mist and Sea Daffodil from BL Eg 747, f. 68v

Love-in-a-Mist and Sea Daffodil from BL Eg 747, f. 68v

Miniature of a nigella, or love-in-a-mist plant; miniature of a narciscus, or sea daffodil plant. Image taken from f. 68v of Tractatus de herbis (Herbal); De Simplici Medicina (index Secreta Salernitana); Circa... More

Sea Bindweed and Spinach from BL Eg 747, f. 97

Sea Bindweed and Spinach from BL Eg 747, f. 97

Miniature of a soldanella, or sea bindweed plant; miniature of a spinacha, or spinach plant. Image taken from f. 97 of Tractatus de herbis (Herbal); De Simplici Medicina (index Secreta Salernitana); Circa insta... More

Sea battle from BL Harley 4418, f. 113

Sea battle from BL Harley 4418, f. 113

Miniature of a battle scene, decorated initial 'L'(istoire) including heraldic arms and foliate borders. Image taken from f. 113 of Jean d'Arras, Roman de Mélusine (imperfect). Written in French.

Ship at sea from BL Royal 2 B VII, f. 272v

Ship at sea from BL Royal 2 B VII, f. 272v

Detail of a bas-de-page scene of the 11,000 virgins in a ship at sea. Image taken from f. 272v of Psalter ('The Queen Mary Psalter'). Written in Latin, with French image captions.

Ship at sea from BL Royal 2 B VII, f. 272v

Ship at sea from BL Royal 2 B VII, f. 272v

Bas-de-page scene of the 11,000 virgins in a ship at sea, with a deocrated initial 'D'(omine). Image taken from f. 272v of Psalter ('The Queen Mary Psalter'). Written in Latin, with French image captions.

English at sea from BL Royal 20 C VII, f. 26v

English at sea from BL Royal 20 C VII, f. 26v

Detail of a miniature of the English force at sea. Image taken from f. 26v of Chroniques de France ou de St Denis (from 1270 to 1380). Written in French.

Sea fight off of La Rochelle from BL Royal 20 C VII, f. 189v

Sea fight off of La Rochelle from BL Royal 20 C VII, f. 189v

Detail of a miniature of a sea fight off of La Rochelle. Image taken from f. 189v of Chroniques de France ou de St Denis (from 1270 to 1380). Written in French.

English at sea from BL Royal 20 C VII, f. 214v

English at sea from BL Royal 20 C VII, f. 214v

Detail of a miniature of the English at sea; miniature of the battle of the men of Ghent and the count of Flanders. Image taken from f. 214v of Chroniques de France ou de St Denis (from 1270 to 1380). Written in French.

Gegraveerde parelmoeren schelp met zee- en veldslagen

Gegraveerde parelmoeren schelp met zee- en veldslagen

Gegraveerde parelmoeren schelp met zee- en veldslagen. Zeer defect. Los fragment in de schelp.

Alexander lowered into the sea from BL Royal 20 B XX, f. 77v

Alexander lowered into the sea from BL Royal 20 B XX, f. 77v

Detail of a miniature of Alexander lowered into the sea in a cask, along with a cat and a cock, at the beginning of chapter 65. Image taken from f. 77v of Historia de proelis in a French translation (Le Livre e... More

Alexander lowered into the sea from BL Royal 20 B XX, f. 77v

Alexander lowered into the sea from BL Royal 20 B XX, f. 77v

Miniature of Alexander being lowered into the sea in a cask, along with a cat and a cock, with a foliate initial 'L'(ore) and a partial border, at the beginning of chapter 65. Image taken from f. 77v of Histori... More

De vier engelen bij de vier hoeken van de aarde en de lofzang van de zaligen uit Johannes' Apocalypse

De vier engelen bij de vier hoeken van de aarde en de lofzang van de z...

In de bovenste zone in een mandorla verbeelden twee bomen de aarde en een schip de zee. Rondom de mandorla vier engelen die de hoofden van de vier winden vast houden met hun handen over de monden om hen in bedw... More

Battle of the Sea Gods (Right portion of a frieze)

Battle of the Sea Gods (Right portion of a frieze)

Andrea Mantegna (Italian, Isola di Carturo 1430/31–1506 Mantua)

The Battle of the Sea Gods (Left portion of a  frieze)

The Battle of the Sea Gods (Left portion of a frieze)

Andrea Mantegna (Italian, Isola di Carturo 1430/31–1506 Mantua)

Ship at sea from BL Arundel 66, f. 45

Ship at sea from BL Arundel 66, f. 45

Detail of a miniature of a ship at sea, flying the St George cross. Image taken from f. 45 of Almagest (extract), Liber Astronomiae, Liber Arenalis, astronomical and geomantic tables, political prophecies. Wri... More

Christ's miracles on the Sea of Galilee

Christ's miracles on the Sea of Galilee

Jesus and 12 Apostles on sailing ship at sea. Woodcut by Michael Wolgemut. Reference copy may be in LOT 4444 B. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Artists, Publ.... More

Marco Dente - Getuigen van een schipbreuk

Marco Dente - Getuigen van een schipbreuk

Een groep mannen zittend aan de kust. Op de achtergrond een zinkend schip in een storm op zee.

Marco Dente - Getuigen van een schipbreuk

Marco Dente - Getuigen van een schipbreuk

Een groep mannen zittend aan de kust. Op de achtergrond een zinkend schip in een storm op zee.

Albrecht Durer - The Sea Monster (Das Meerwunder)

Albrecht Durer - The Sea Monster (Das Meerwunder)

Albrecht Dürer (German, Nuremberg 1471–1528 Nuremberg)

Marco Dente - Amor ontsnapt over zee

Marco Dente - Amor ontsnapt over zee

Amor zittend in een klein bootje op zee. In het bootje liggen pijlen. Aan een pijl is een doek gebonden dat fungeert als zeil. Boven een banderol met de titel.

Geboorte van Venus, Marco Dente

Geboorte van Venus, Marco Dente

De naakte Venus staat met een voet op een grote schelp. Op de achtergrond de zee met twee dolfijnen. Boven in de wolken Saturnus die op het punt staat om zijn vader Uranus te castreren met een sabel.

The Sea Monster, Albrecht Durer, German, Nuremberg.

The Sea Monster, Albrecht Durer, German, Nuremberg.

Albrecht Dürer (German, Nuremberg 1471–1528 Nuremberg)

Jupiter en Semele, Marco Dente

Jupiter en Semele, Marco Dente

Jupiter en Semele zitten innig verstrengeld tegen een boom op de adelaar van Jupiter. Links staat Amor, klaar om het ongeboren kind van Semele te redden. Op de achtergrond de zee.

Marco Dente - Laocoön en zijn zonen

Marco Dente - Laocoön en zijn zonen

Laocoön en zijn zonen worden aangevallen door twee slangen tijdens het voorbereiden van een offerritueel voor een tempel voor Minerva. Op de achtergrond de zee met twee grote zeeserpenten.

Geboorte van Venus, Marco Dente

Geboorte van Venus, Marco Dente

De naakte Venus staat met een voet op een grote schelp. Op de achtergrond de zee met twee dolfijnen. Boven in de wolken Saturnus die op het punt staat om zijn vader Uranus te castreren met een sabel.

Amor zeilend op zee, Agostino Veneziano, Italy

Amor zeilend op zee, Agostino Veneziano, Italy

Amor zeilt in een zelfgemaakt bootje met zijn pijl als mast en boog als riem voor Venus uit. Zij staat op een schelp. Links op de oever staat een jongeman gekleed in mantel.

Amor op zee

Amor op zee

Amor vaart op zee in een boot, waarbij hij een pijl gebruikt als mast en zijn boog om mee te roeien. Rechts staat een man op het land. Links staat Venus op een grote schelp. In de lucht drie putti. In de onderm... More

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