How many oceans are there in the world?

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Yes, technically there is only one global ocean covering 71 percent of the Earth’s surface. However, this vast body of water has historically been divided into four main named oceans: the Arctic, Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. These divisions are based on geographic regions and are widely recognized around the world.

The Arctic Ocean is situated at the northernmost part of the globe, while the Indian Ocean lies to the south of Afro-Eurasia. The Atlantic Ocean stretches between the Americas to the west and Europe and Africa to the east, while the Pacific Ocean is the largest and spans from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

In addition to these four oceans, some countries, including the United States, recognize a fifth named ocean known as the Southern Ocean. This ocean is defined by its location along the coast of Antarctica, extending to the line of latitude at 60 degrees south. However, its official recognition by international bodies like the International Hydrographic Organization is still pending ratification.

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When it comes to seas, they are smaller bodies of saltwater that are partially enclosed by land. Unlike oceans, seas typically have direct connections to the larger oceans. For example, the Mediterranean Sea is bordered by Europe and North Africa and connects to the Atlantic Ocean, while the Caribbean Sea lies between Central America and South America, connected to the Atlantic Ocean as well. Seas are generally smaller in size compared to oceans and are often found along coastlines or within larger ocean basins.