The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Mass of the Oceans

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Ray, Bill T. Water Quality & Usage. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. "Oceans 13,700 × 1017 kg" 1.37 × 1021 kg
The Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. 3rd ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. "Total volume of about
1.347 × 109 cu km"
1.347 × 1021 kg
Ciesielski, Origin of the Oceans, Atmosphere, and Life. Evolution of Earth & Life. University of Florida. "Mass of oceans = 1.4 × 1024 grams" 1.4 × 1021 kg
CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. Ed. Robert C. Weast. New York: CRC Press, 1980: F-199. "Area of world oceans 361 × 106 km2
Mean depth of world oceans 3794 m"
1.37 × 1021 kg
Useful Quantities in Climate Research. Pacific Rim Energy and Environment Network. Climate Change Information Center. "Ocean mass 1.384 × 1021 kg
Modified from Clark, W. C. (ed.). 1982. Carbon Dioxide Review: 1982, p. 469, Oxford University Press, New York."
1.384 × 1021 kg

Four-fifths of the southern hemisphere and the more than three-fifths of the northern hemisphere are under water. The Pacific, 70 million square miles in area, is almost circular in shape and covers nearly half the earth's surface. The Atlantic, at 36.3 million square miles, forms a broad S with the two sides almost matching. The Indian Ocean forms a large triangle with the Indian peninsula protruding through the upper apex. The Arctic Ocean, with its cover of floating ice, has an area of only 3.7 million squares miles and is almost surrounded by land.

After looking around the web and reference books, I found that the mass of the oceans is not always given in kilograms (kg). Some of the values were given in grams and I had to convert them to kilograms by multiplying by 1000. One of the sites didn't have the mass of the oceans, but it did have their combined volume. So I had to calculate the mass by using the formula D = m/V, where D is density, m is mass, and V is volume. The density of ocean water is approximately 1000 kilogram per cubic meter. One of my sources had neither mass nor volume, but area in squares kilometers and depth in meters. To obtain the mass, I multiplied area times depth, times 10003 to get a result in kilograms.

After looking up all the sites and the information I gathered, I have found that the mass of the world oceans is about 1.4 × 1021 kg.

Avijeet Dut -- 1998