It’s Official, The ‘Southern Ocean’ Is The World’s Fifth Ocean

Ever since we were in grade school, we have heard that there are four oceans: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic.

It seems as if that has now changed, so people everywhere are going to have to relearn something so basic that they’ve known it for the majority of their lives.

According to a report in National Geographic, A fifth ocean is now being recognized in commemoration of World Oceans Day.

Photo: Pixabay

The new ocean is the “Southern Ocean” and includes the waters off of Antarctica. This wasn’t a split-second decision, the thought of adding a new ocean has been debated for quite some time.

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National Geographic just made it official, however, by recognizing the body of water surrounding Antarctica, with all of its unique sea life and frigid temperatures.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

One of the characteristics of the Southern Ocean is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). The ACC is a current that encompasses Antarctica and cycles water from other oceans, including the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans.

It helps to balance things out by bringing the warmer waters into the colder waters of the newly recognized ocean.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Alex Tait, a geographer with the National Geographic Society, spoke about one important reason why the new ocean was being added to the list.

In the report, he said: “I think one of the biggest impacts is through education. Students learn information about the ocean world through what oceans you’re studying. If you don’t include the Southern Ocean then you don’t learn the specifics of it and how important it is.”

Photo: Pixabay

In the end, it doesn’t change how the body of water operates, but it does help to recognize the area for all that it has to offer.

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