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Atlantic Ocean
Map of Atlantic Ocean
Introduction Atlantic Ocean
Background:
Atlantic Ocean is second largest of world's five oceans (after Pacific Ocean, but larger than Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean, and Arctic Ocean). Kiel Canal (Germany), Oresund (Denmark-Sweden), Bosporus (Turkey), Strait of Gibraltar (Morocco-Spain), and Saint Lawrence Seaway (Canada-US) are important strategic access waterways.
Geography Atlantic Ocean
Location:
body of water between Africa, Europe, Southern Ocean, and Western Hemisphere
Geographic coordinates:
0 00 N, 25 00 W
Map references:
Political Map of World
Area:
total: 76.762 million sq km
note: includes Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caribbean Sea, Davis Strait, Denmark Strait, part of Drake Passage, Gulf of Mexico, Labrador Sea, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, Norwegian Sea, almost all of Scotia Sea, and other tributary water bodies
Area - comparative:
slightly less than 6.5 times size of US
Coastline:
111,866 km
Climate:
tropical cyclones (hurricanes) develop off coast of Africa near Cape Verde and move westward into Caribbean Sea; hurricanes can occur from May to December, but are most frequent from August to November
Terrain:
surface usually covered with sea ice in Labrador Sea, Denmark Strait, and coastal portions of Baltic Sea from October to June; clockwise warm-water gyre (broad, circular system of currents) in northern Atlantic, counterclockwise warm-water gyre in southern Atlantic; ocean floor is dominated by Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a rugged north-south centerline for entire Atlantic basin
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Milwaukee Deep in Puerto Rico Trench -8,605 m
highest point: sea level 0 m
Natural resources:
oil and gas fields, fish, marine mammals (seals and whales), sand and gravel aggregates, placer deposits, polymetallic nodules, precious stones
Natural hazards:
icebergs common in Davis Strait, Denmark Strait, and northwestern Atlantic Ocean from February to August and have been spotted as far south as Bermuda and Madeira Islands; ships subject to superstructure icing in extreme northern Atlantic from October to May; persistent fog can be a maritime hazard from May to September; hurricanes (May to December)
Environment - current issues:
endangered marine species include manatee, seals, sea lions, turtles, and whales; drift net fishing is hastening decline of fish stocks and contributing to international disputes; municipal sludge pollution off eastern US, southern Brazil, and eastern Argentina; oil pollution in Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Lake Maracaibo, Mediterranean Sea, and North Sea; industrial waste and municipal sewage pollution in Baltic Sea, North Sea, and Mediterranean Sea
Geography - note:
major chokepoints include Dardanelles, Strait of Gibraltar, access to Panama and Suez Canals; strategic straits include Strait of Dover, Straits of Florida, Mona Passage, Sound (Oresund), and Windward Passage; Equator divides Atlantic Ocean into North Atlantic Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean


Economy Atlantic Ocean
Economy - overview:
Atlantic Ocean provides some of world's most heavily trafficked sea routes, between and within Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Other economic activity includes exploitation of natural resources, e.g., fishing, dredging of aragonite sands (The Bahamas), and production of crude oil and natural gas (Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and North Sea).

Transportation Atlantic Ocean
Ports and harbors:
Alexandria (Egypt), Algiers (Algeria), Antwerp (Belgium), Barcelona (Spain), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Casablanca (Morocco), Colon (Panama), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dakar (Senegal), Gdansk (Poland), Hamburg (Germany), Helsinki (Finland), Las Palmas (Canary Islands, Spain), Le Havre (France), Lisbon (Portugal), London (UK), Marseille (France), Montevideo (Uruguay), Montreal (Canada), Naples (Italy), New Orleans (US), New York (US), Oran (Algeria), Oslo (Norway), Peiraiefs or Piraeus (Greece), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Stockholm (Sweden)
Transportation - note:
Kiel Canal and Saint Lawrence Seaway are two important waterways; significant domestic commercial and recreational use of Intracoastal Waterway on central and south Atlantic seaboard and Gulf of Mexico coast of US

Transnational Issues Atlantic Ocean
Disputes - international:
some maritime disputes (see littoral states)