Southern Ocean’ as globe’s fifth ocean
The National Geographic magazine has recognized the ‘Southern Ocean’ as the world’s fifth ocean June 8, 2021
- The Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean, comprises the southernmost waters of the World Ocean, generally taken to be south of 60° S latitude and encircling Antarctica.
- Over the past 30 years, the Southern Ocean has been subject to rapid climate change, which has led to changes in the marine ecosystem
- As such, it is regarded as the second-smallest of the five principal oceanic divisions: smaller than the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans but larger than the Arctic Ocean.
- The magazine says the Southern Ocean is the only ocean ‘to touch three other oceans and to completely embrace a continent rather than being embraced by them’.
- Its northern limit is a latitude of 60 degrees south.
- It is also defined by its Antarctic Circumpolar Current that was formed 34 million years ago. The current flows from west to east around Antarctica.
- The Southern Ocean is home to large populations of whales, penguins, and seals
- Usually, the magazine has followed the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) on marine names, it said in an article notifying the change.
- The IHO too had recognized ‘Southern Ocean’ as a distinct body of water surrounding Antarctica in 1937 but had repealed the same in 1953.