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Why are oceans important?

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Quick Answer

Oceans remove carbon from the air, regulate the Earth's climate, provide food, provide jobs and provide oxygen. Oceans are the most valuable shared natural resource on Earth.

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Full Answer

Oceans make it possible for people to live on Earth. The oceans are responsible for supplying fresh water to the whole planet by forming the clouds that transport fresh water to land. People use the fresh water to grow food, water livestock and drink. Without fresh water, people could not live.

By absorbing the excess carbon dioxide emissions from human waste and activity, the oceans scrub the atmosphere clean. Ocean plants provide half of the oxygen on Earth.

Fish from the oceans are used for the fish industry and for food. Much of the fisheries' catches are ground into oil and fish meal to feed livestock.

Nearly $130 billion flows into the economy from marine-based jobs every year. Ocean tourism, fishing, recreation, mining ore and oil and biomedical research are some marine-related jobs.

The oceans' water holds heat and carry it across huge basins, where it warms the atmosphere. Evaporation cools the water and warms the air, such as in the tropics. Near the poles, less evaporation takes place and the air is not warmed.

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