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Pacific Ocean

 

Pacific Ocean Pacific Ocean:Geography
Location: body of water between Antarctica, Asia, Australia, and the
Western Hemisphere
Map references: World
Area:
total area: 165.384 million sq km
comparative area: about 18 times the size of the US; the largest ocean
(followed by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Arctic
Ocean); covers about one-third of the global surface; larger than the
total land area of the world
note: includes Bali Sea, Bellingshausen Sea, Bering Sea, Bering
Strait, Coral Sea, East China Sea, Flores Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Gulf of
Tonkin, Java Sea, Philippine Sea, Ross Sea, Savu Sea, Sea of Japan,
Sea of Okhotsk, South China Sea, Tasman Sea, Timor Sea, and other
tributary water bodies
Coastline: 135,663 km
International disputes: some maritime disputes (see littoral states)
Climate: the western Pacific is monsoonal - a rainy season occurs
during the summer months, when moisture-laden winds blow from the
ocean over the land, and a dry season during the winter months, when
dry winds blow from the Asian land mass back to the ocean
Terrain: surface currents in the northern Pacific are dominated by a
clockwise, warm-water gyre (broad circular system of currents) and in
the southern Pacific by a counterclockwise, cool-water gyre; in the
northern Pacific sea ice forms in the Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk in
winter; in the southern Pacific sea ice from Antarctica reaches its
northernmost extent in October; the ocean floor in the eastern Pacific
is dominated by the East Pacific Rise, while the western Pacific is
dissected by deep trenches, including the world's deepest, the 10,924
meter Marianas Trench
Natural resources: oil and gas fields, polymetallic nodules, sand and
gravel aggregates, placer deposits, fish
Environment:
current issues: endangered marine species include the dugong, sea
lion, sea otter, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in
Philippine Sea and South China Sea
natural hazards: surrounded by a zone of violent volcanic and
earthquake activity sometimes referred to as the Pacific Ring of Fire;
subject to tropical cyclones (typhoons) in southeast and east Asia
from May to December (most frequent from July to October); tropical
cyclones (hurricanes) may form south of Mexico and strike Central
America and Mexico from June to October (most common in August and
September); southern shipping lanes subject to icebergs from
Antarctica; occasional El Nino phenomenon occurs off the coast of Peru
when the trade winds slacken and the warm Equatorial Countercurrent
moves south, killing the plankton that is the primary food source for
anchovies; consequently, the anchovies move to better feeding grounds,
causing resident marine birds to starve by the thousands because of
their lost food source; ships subject to superstructure icing in
extreme north from October to May and in extreme south from May to
October; persistent fog in the northern Pacific can be a maritime
hazard from June to December
international agreements: NA
Note: the major choke points are the Bering Strait, Panama Canal,
Luzon Strait, and the Singapore Strait; the Equator divides the
Pacific Ocean into the North Pacific Ocean and the South Pacific
Ocean; dotted with low coral islands and rugged volcanic islands in
the southwestern Pacific Ocean Pacific Ocean:Government
Digraph: ZN Economy
Overview: The Pacific Ocean is a major contributor to the world
economy and particularly to those nations its waters directly touch.
It provides low-cost sea transportation between East and West,
extensive fishing grounds, offshore oil and gas fields, minerals, and
sand and gravel for the construction industry. In 1985 over half (54%)
of the world's fish catch came from the Pacific Ocean, which is the
only ocean where the fish catch has increased every year since 1978.
Exploitation of offshore oil and gas reserves is playing an
ever-increasing role in the energy supplies of Australia, NZ, China,
US, and Peru. The high cost of recovering offshore oil and gas,
combined with the wide swings in world prices for oil since 1985, has
slowed but not stopped new drillings.
Industries: fishing, oil and gas production Pacific Ocean:Transportation
Ports: Bangkok (Thailand), Hong Kong, Los Angeles (US), Manila
(Philippines), Pusan (South Korea), San Francisco (US), Seattle (US),
Shanghai (China), Singapore, Sydney (Australia), Vladivostok (Russia),
Wellington (NZ), Yokohama (Japan) Pacific Ocean:Communications
Telephone system:
international: several submarine cables with network nodal points on
Guam and Hawaii
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