The Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest ocean in the world. Since it covers almost 20% of the Earth’s surface, it gathers the most salt from all other oceans. We know oceans are salty due to rain that washes minerals from dry land into the ocean. Since the Atlantic is so large, it’s normal for it to receive more minerals than other oceans.
How salty is the Atlantic Ocean?
The Atlantic is the saltiest ocean in the world. Rough estimates show it has a constant salinity between 3.3% and 3.7%. This range varies depending on the season. During the rainy seasons, more minerals are washed into the ocean. During the warm season, its waters evaporate even more changing up the salinity level.
The lowest salinity levels in the Atlantic Ocean are its regions around the equator. It’s here that low rain and high temperature cause more water evaporation and low salinity.
Why is the Atlantic Ocean so salty?
The salinity levels of the Atlantic are mostly measured as surface level. But they can vary considerably as influenced by heat, rain, and evaporation. We also know the Atlantic is salty as it receives salty waters from the Indian Ocean. But high evaporation is also high impactful on its saltiness levels. Salt evaporates from the Atlantic as it makes its way as subtropical rain towards the Pacific.
In its Southern region, the Atlantic joins the Indian Ocean, which is also salty. Both of these create a large common water mass that is very salty, at least at surface level. The high levels of salinity of this ocean also allowed many ships to sail its waters rapidly. This is why the first explorers didn’t stop until they reached North America from Europe and the ocean’s salinity soon prompted what was to become one of the world’s busiest ship trading routes.