18 Incredible Facts About the Atlantic Ocean

Many interesting facts about the Atlantic Ocean will make us appreciate its importance for both us and the planet as a whole.

It has a vibrant flora and fauna with myriads of fish, whales, turtles, sea horses, planktons, and many more living beings. So, let’s dive deep into the Atlantic and learn something new along the way! 

How Deep is the Atlantic Ocean?

The Atlantic Ocean max depth is 27,480 feet at the Puerto Rico Atlantic Trench, the Milwaukee Depth. 

The average depth of the Atlantic Ocean is 11,962 feet. This means that it is 311 feet shallower than the Indian Ocean and 2,080 feet shallower than the Pacific Ocean. 

(World Atlas, 2021)

Top 10 Intriguing Facts About the Atlantic Ocean:

General Atlantic Ocean Facts

There are many incredible stats about the Atlantic Ocean that can show us just how magnificent it is. From its size to its history, the Atlantic is genuinely something that earns our respect.

1. The surface area of the Atlantic Ocean is about 41,105,000 square miles.

(NOAA’s National Ocean Service, 2021, World Atlas, 2021)

The Atlantic Ocean map stretches for about 41,105,000 square miles between the coasts of Europe, Africa, South America, and North America. 

It’s divided into two main parts — the North Atlantic Ocean, with a surface of 16,020,000 square miles, and the South Atlantic Ocean, with 15,550,000 square miles.

2. The Atlantic Ocean was formed approximately 180 million years ago.

(World Atlas, 2021)

The Atlantic basin was formed after the rifting of the mega-continent Pangea 180 million years ago. Later, when the other mega-continent, Laurasia, broke up, the  North and the South Atlantic split became evident.

3. The Atlantic Ocean has a maximum width of around 3,200 miles.

(Britannica, 2022)

The width of the Atlantic Ocean varies considerably from the North Atlantic Ocean to the South Pole. For instance, the width between Newfoundland and Ireland is 2,060 miles.

The shortest width of 1,770 miles is found between Cape São Roque in Brazil and Cape Palmas in Liberia. 

4. Milwaukee Depth lies 27,493 feet below the surface.

(Britannica, 2022)

The average depth of the Atlantic Ocean is 11,962 feet (3,646 meters), and its deepest point is Milwaukee Depth, lying at 27,493 feet underwater. It’s located in the Atlantic trench of Puerto Rico, some 100 miles northwest of the island of Puerto Rico.

5. With a 38.4 mean range, the Atlantic Basin has the highest tides in the world!

(NOAA’s National Service, 2021, Britannica 2021)

At the Bay of Fundy in Canada, scientists have spotted a difference between high and low water of more than 40 feet (12 meters). Moreover, along the coast of Brittany in France, the range difference is some 16 feet (5 meters).

On the other hand, the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico have the lowest difference of less than 3 feet (1 meter).

6. The Atlantic Ocean includes 10 different currents.

(Weather online, 2022)

The Atlantic Ocean water temperature is responsible for all the drifts and currents happening throughout the basin! 

There are 10 main active currents — the North and South Equatorial, Counter Equatorial, Gulf Stream, Brazil, Benguela, South Atlantic Drift, Falkland, Labrador, and the Cannery.

However, the strongest one is in the North Atlantic Drift, an extension of the Gulf Stream.

7. The North Atlantic Ocean Currents can cool the Ocean down to 28°F.

(World Atlas, 2022)

By examining the Atlantic Ocean water temp map, we’ll quickly see that the temperature varies between 28 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the tropics, the Atlantic Ocean temperature won’t fall under 80°F, while in the temperate climate zone, it’ll hardly reach 70°F.

Atlantic Ocean Facts About Animals in It

There are billions of planktons, sea horses, turtles, fishes, sharks, whales, manatees, and other animals in the Atlantic Ocean. In this article, we’ve selected the most interesting facts about them for you!

8. More than 50 shark species live in the Atlantic Ocean. 

(NOAA’s National Ocean Service, 2020)

In the Atlantic Ocean, there are more than 50 shark species varying from tiny spiny dogfish to the great white shark.

Thanks to the scientific effort and new rules, there are significant population increases of spiny dogfish, white shark, sandbar, and Gulf of Mexico blacktip.

However, this isn’t such a cheerful fact for the swimmers and surfers in the Ocean. More than 50% of 2019 shark attacks happen in the Atlantic, or 41 out of 64 worldwide. Furthermore, more than 50% of shark attacks in the US occur in Florida.

9. The North Atlantic right whale is the symbol of the ocean!

(World Atlas, 2021, NOAA’s National Service Agency, 2021)

The Atlantic Ocean depth hides beautiful creatures, like the right whale, which can grow up to 52 feet in length and 150,000 pounds in weight. For years, this majestic creature has been under the threat of climate change, ocean noise, hunting, and entanglements. 

Sadly, the number of right whales is now at an all-time low of 350 individuals.

10. There are 16 different species of dolphins and porpoises in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean and New England region.

(NOAA’s National Service Agency, 2021, Miami Herald, 2019)

The Mid-Atlantic region has 16 native species of dolphins and porpoises, among which the most famous ones are: 

  • The White-Sided dolphin
  • Clymene dolphin
  • The Common Bottlenose dolphin
  • The Risso dolphin
  • Dall’s porpoise
  • The Harbor Porpoise

The most famous is the common bottlenose dolphin because of the 1960’s hit-show “Flipper.” Currently, there are 61 packs of these cheerful guys roaming the North Atlantic waters.

11. Today, there are 14 endangered species in the New England/ Mid-Atlantic Region.

(NOAA’s National Service Agency, 2021)

Beautiful animals like the blue whale, the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the right whale, and the giant manta ray are currently on the endangered species list.

According to NOAA, the NE/MA region is the critical habitat for four of them — the right whale, Atlantic sturgeon, Atlantic salmon, and loggerhead sea turtle.

12. The size of fish in the Atlantic Ocean shrank by 15% because of global warming and pollution.

(Royal Geographical Society, 2017)

The Atlantic Ocean underwater sea life keeps getting smaller, and research shows that the fish have shrunk by 15% over the last 65 years

Furthermore, according to research for 2004–2005,  species like the Atlantic salmon have shrunk in body mass between 25% and 36%

13. Stretching for 625 miles, the Mesoamerican Reef is the biggest coral system globally.

(Nature.org, 2022)

The Mesoamerican or “ The Great Maya” Reef stretches for 625 miles from the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula to the Honduran Bay Islands.

It’s vital for the Atlantic marine ecosystem, and it has 3 critically endangered turtles — the hawksbill, loggerhead, and green turtle. 

Here, you can also find the whale shark, which grows up to the size of a school bus, or 60 feet in length.

Exploration and Ecology of the Atlantic Ocean

Only 80% of the oceans have been explored to this day. That’s why, when it comes to ecology and exploration, we’ve chosen the best Atlantic Ocean facts.

14. The first explorations of the Atlantic Ocean began in 800 CE and continue today.

(Britannica, 2021)

The Viking and Norse sailors started exploring the Atlantic Ocean in 800–900 CE. All the explorations since that date led to Benjamin Franklin drawing the first good map of the Gulf Stream in 1770.

Today, scientists are exploring phenomena like the North Atlantic oscillation and climate changes and how they affect our everyday lives.

15. Roughly 200,000 pieces of debris are found per square mile in the North Atlantic garbage patch. 

(NOAA’s National Ocean Service, Bio Plastics Europe, 2021)

This man-made debris floating in the North Atlantic Ocean was first detected in 1976. Since the plastic and oil industry boom, two garbage patches have appeared and grown in the North and the South Atlantic Gyre. 

16. AMOC has slowed down by 15% since the mid-twentieth century.

(Nature, 2018, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 2021)

The temperature of the Atlantic Ocean is constantly changing, and we’ve started witnessing the hottest years in a row. This also affects the power of the currents in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Scientists say that currents have slowed down by approximately 15% since the mid-twentieth century. Furthermore, scientists say that by 2100, the AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation) might slow down by 34–45%.

17. From 1960 to 2020, some parts of the Mid-Atlantic coast saw sea levels rise by more than 8 inches.

(PBS News, 2022, EPA, 2021)

Moreover, the National Ocean Service predicts a water level increase of 10 to 12 inches or 0.25 to 0.3 meters across the US coastline by 2050.

18. The Atlantic Ocean water temperature is constantly rising, and coral reefs are dying.

(United Nations Environment Program, 2021, NOAA’s National Service Agency, 2021)

Three main corals live in the Atlantic — the Elkhorn, the Staghorn, and the Fused coral, which is a hybrid of the two. They are distributed mainly across the Atlantic Ocean floor map near the Caribbean and Brazilian coasts. 

Scientists say they’re registering rapid bleaching and dying out of coral reefs all across the strip. 


When did the Atlantic Ocean form?

The Atlantic Ocean formed about 180 million years ago when a rift opened into the ancient mega-continent Pangea. This rift resulted in the North Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, the South Atlantic was formed 140 million years ago when Africa separated from South America.

(Britannica, 2021)

How big is the Atlantic Ocean?

The Atlantic Ocean has a surface area of approximately 41,105,000 square miles, and its average depth is 11,962 feet. Its widest point is a bit under 3,200 miles between Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope.

(NOAA’s National Ocean Service, 2021, Britannica, 2022)

How wide is the Atlantic Ocean?

The maximum width of the Atlantic Ocean is about 3,200 miles between the farthest coasts of Africa and America.

(SidmartinBio, 2020)

What animals live in the Atlantic Ocean?

The most common animals are fishes, walruses, manatees, dolphins, turtles, whales, penguins, sharks, and tunas. The most famous ones are the killer whale, great white shark, humpback whale, and king penguin.

(World Atlas, 2017) 

Is the Atlantic Ocean cold?

It can be, depending on the time of the year and location. For instance, the Atlantic Ocean temperature in Florida at the time of writing is 76.7°F. However, in some parts of Canada, it is closer to 30°F.

(SeaTemperature, 2022)


We’ve illustrated some fascinating yet chilling Atlantic Ocean statistics, hoping to stir your love for the waters and the feeling of duty to protect them!

Our facts about the Atlantic Ocean prove that it’s a place where we can learn a lot about our planet and ourselves, too!


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