Southern Ocean now officially recognized as the world’s fifth ocean

Southern Ocean now formally acknowledged because the world’s fifth ocean

To have a good time World Oceans Day on June 8, the Nationwide Geographic Society determined so as to add a fifth ocean to its checklist of formally acknowledged oceans.

Oceans cowl 71 % of the Earth’s mass and are technically one giant physique of water, however oceanographers have beforehand divided it into 4: the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Indian, and the Arctic oceans. Now, Nationwide Geographic acknowledges the water that surrounds the continent of Antarctica (past the 60° South latitude) because the Southern Ocean.

“Anybody who has been there’ll wrestle to clarify what’s so mesmerizing about it, however they’ll all agree that the glaciers are bluer, the air colder, the mountains extra intimidating, and the landscapes extra charming than anyplace else you possibly can go,” stated Seth Sykora-Bodie, a marine scientist on the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a Nationwide Geographic Explorer to Nationwide Geographic.

Whereas that is new for the Nationwide Geographic Society, a non-profit scientific and academic group that has been designing maps and atlases since 1915, it’s not extraordinary. The US Board of Geographic Names already acknowledged the Southern Ocean. Nonetheless, there was worldwide debate about whether or not or not the waters round Antarctica have been distinct sufficient to be thought-about an ocean. Nationwide Geographic Society Geographer Alex Tait describes the talk as “geographic nerdiness.”

The Southern Ocean is distinguished by the Antarctic Circumpolar Present (ACC) from when Antarctica separated from South America 34 million years in the past, making Antarctica’s water “colder and barely much less salty.” The ACC has additionally brought on 1000’s of distinctive species to dwell in these waters and nowhere else on this planet, based on Nationwide Geographic.

“We expect it’s actually necessary from an academic standpoint, in addition to from a map-labeling standpoint, to carry consideration to the Southern Ocean as a fifth ocean,” Tait instructed The Washington Submit. “So when college students study elements of the ocean world, they study it’s an interconnected ocean, and so they study there are these areas referred to as oceans which can be actually necessary, and there’s a definite one within the icy waters round Antarctica.”

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