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Coral Sea,southwest arm of the Pacific Ocean, between Australia, New Guinea, and Vanuatu. The Great Barrier Reef lies along its western edge. During World War II it was the scene of a major U.S. victory against the Japanese in 1942; the battle, fought by aircraft near the Louisiade Archipelago, checked the southward expansion of the Japanese.
a semienclosed sea of the Pacific Ocean situated between the northeastern coast of Australia in the west, New Guinea, New Britain Island, and the Solomon Islands in the north, the New Hebrides Islands in the east, and Elizabeth Reef (30°S lat.) in the south. The Torres Strait in the northwest connects it with the Indian Ocean. Area 4,791,000 sq km. Average water volume, 11,470,000 cu km. Average depth, 2,394 m; maximum depth, 9,140 m.
The Coral Sea was named for the abundance of coral reefs and islands, which greatly complicate navigation. The relief of the sea’s floor is extremely rugged. Currents form a cyclone cycle; its western rim gives rise to the East Australian current. Average water temperature at the surface ranges from 19° in August to 24° in February in the south; in the north it is 27°–28°C all year. Salinity measures 34.5–35.5%. There are many sharks and flying fish. Chief ports are Cairns (Australia), Port Moresby (New Guinea), and Nouméa (New Caledonia).