Covering 20% of the Earth’s entire surface, the Atlantic Ocean is the world’s second-largest ocean. It covers 29% of all of the Earth’s water surface making it second only to the Pacific Ocean. At its deepest point, the Milwaukee Deep off the coast of Puerto Rico, the Atlantic Ocean is 27,500 feet deep – that would fit a stack of almost 19 Empire State Buildings!
The western shores of the Atlantic Ocean are the coasts of North, Central, and South America. The North American countries include Canada and the United States. All of the Central and South American countries on the Caribbean Sea including Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, and many others have an Atlantic coast, as well as the South American countries of Argentina and Brazil. The warm, moist air of the southern Atlantic ocean often brings rain, hurricanes and other turbulent weather to Central America and the southern United States before heading north and bringing turbulent weather to the east coast of the United States, including the notorious Nor’easter, and heavy fog off the coast of eastern Canada.
Heading to the other side of “The Pond” as it’s known by Americans and Europeans, the Atlantic Ocean will bring you to Ireland and the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal. The North Sea also brings Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Norway to the Atlantic, and Iceland can be found northwest of Europe in the Atlantic.
Traveling south from Europe, the Atlantic Ocean will bring you to Africa. Here the Atlantic Ocean touches Morocco and travels down the African continent to include Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, the Congo, Namibia, and South Africa among the many others. The comparatively cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast often bring dense fog to the northwestern coast of Africa.
The Atlantic Ocean is home to a wide range of wildlife including crabs, lobsters, shrimp, large whales and sharks, large mammals such as seals and dolphins, and hundreds of species of fish. The Atlantic coasts are home to dozens of species of birds including seagulls and albatross, and penguins can be found in the colder waters of the southern Atlantic. Many birds follow the migration route called the Atlantic Flyway that includes several shorter routes following the coast of North America that come together in the regions around the Gulf of Mexico near Florida, and then continue over Mexico and into the Caribbean sea.
Due to many factors including pollution, oil spills, entanglement, overfishing, and illegal harvesting, the Atlantic is also home to several endangered species including whales, dolphins, manatees, birds and fish. The North Atlantic garbage patch, an area of concentrated trash and plastics, can be found in the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe. It is estimated to be hundreds of miles across in size and estimated trash density of 120,000 pieces of debris per square mile. Scientists and environmentalists are currently looking for ways to reduce the accumulation of more trash in the garbage patch.
Read more facts about the Atlantic Ocean.