The world’s largest seas are natural bodies of water usually connected to the ocean or partially surrounded by land. Their waters are a vital component of marine ecosystems and biodiversity, economy and transportation, as well as culture and human history. In this article, we take a closer look at the world’s largest seas, presenting them by area occupied, in order from largest to smallest.

Characteristics of the world’s seas

There are 71 seas indicated in the world, and they account for about 11 percent of the world’s surface area. of the total ocean area, which translates into an area of about 40 million square kilometers. They are singled out for their specific geographic and climatic characteristics, often more diverse in terms of environmental conditions such as depth, water temperature and salinity.

Seas are divided into different types, they include:

  1. Intra-continental seas – are surrounded by land on all sides, with open ocean waters connected by narrow straits. An example is the Baltic Sea, which is connected to the North Sea through the Kattegat and Skagerrak straits.
  2. Intercontinental seas – are located between two or more continents. The Caribbean Sea, which lies between South and North America, is a perfect example.
  3. Inter-island seas – these are seas located between groups of islands. For example, the Irish Sea is located between Britain and Ireland.
  4. coastal seas – are located along the coasts of the continents. The South China Sea, stretching along Asia’s southeastern shore, is an example of such a body of water.
  5. Open seas – are parts of the oceans that are not surrounded by land and are not deeply cut into the continent. The North Sea, although it touches continental Europe and Britain, has a relatively wide connection to the Atlantic, which classifies it as an open sea.

The largest seas in the world

Among the largest natural marine reservoirs in the world must be mentioned:

The Philippine Sea (area: about 5.7 million km²) – is part of the Indian Ocean, stretching between the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The Philippine Sea is also where the three major tectonic plates meet: the Philippine Plate, the Eurasian Plate and the Pacific Plate, so it is an area frequently hit by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It is also known for the occurrence of typhoons, which are particularly strong in September.

Coral Sea (area: about 4.8 million km²) – is located off the coast of Australia. It is here that the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is found. Most of the sea is protected under the Australian Coral Sea Marine Park and the French Coral Sea Nature Park, which means that fishing there is restricted. Its natural beauty, abundance of birds and aquatic life, and warm, stable climate make it a popular tourist destination.

Arabian Sea (area: about 3.9 million km²) – is part of the Indian Ocean, located between Saudi Arabia and North Africa. The temperature of its water in summer can reach up to 30°C. This is an area where tropical cyclones are common. The Arabian Sea boasts a rich history of commercial water transportation, dating back many centuries.

The Sargasso Sea (area: 3.5 million km² ) – connected to the Atlantic Ocean, is the place discovered by Christopher Columbus. It gets its name from the brown seaweed of the genus Sargassum. It is characterized by warm and calm waters, weak currents, low rainfall and high evaporation, all of which distinguish it from other parts of the Atlantic Ocean.

South China Sea (area: about 3.5 million km²) – a vast sea between the coasts of Southeast Asia and the archipelagos of Indonesia and the Philippines. There are more than 200 islands in its area. About one-third of the world’s shipping trade passes through the South China Sea. The sediments at its bottom contain volcanic ash in both deep and shallow waters.

Caribbean Sea (area: approx. 2.7 million square kilometers) – forming part of the Atlantic Ocean, is located between Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, Cuba and Central America. In its zone there are large areas of coral reefs and seagrass pastures. The Caribbean Sea is known for the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world.

The importance of the Earth’s seas

Seas are a vital component of ecosystems and biodiversity. By absorbing carbon dioxide and heat, they can regulate the climate, while also being a source from which raw materials are extracted and providing a habitat for many forms of life. The seas are also important transportation routes. Their protection and sustainable use are key to maintaining the Earth’s ecological balance.

World Maritime Day was established to emphasize that the seas are a common asset that requires adequate protection. Its role is to underscore the fact that the protection of the marine ecosystem should be the interest and responsibility of both governments and citizens. Also, this year’s World Wildlife Day, which falls on March 3, focused on highlighting the importance of technological innovations used to protect marine wildlife and water quality in the seas.

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