Why They Matter
Oceans supply fish and other seafood that forms a major source of protein for billions of people. They also provide seaweed and marine plants used for the manufacturing of food, chemicals, energy and construction materials.
The ocean’s surface layer absorbs about half of the heat that reaches the planet from the sun. By distributing this heat around the world, oceans have a profound impact on weather and climate. As humans have pumped more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, oceans have helped to buffer the effects of climate change by soaking up about half of that carbon. Ocean waves, winds and currents also offer potential for sustainable energy supplies.