New Delhi, June 24: National Geographic, a leading map-making group, has officially announced the existence of the world's fifth ocean, named the Southern Ocean. According to National Geographic, the Southern Ocean joined the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic oceans as an official world ocean on June 8, observed as the World Ocean Day. The world's fifth ocean is essentially the body of water that surrounds Antarctica. World's Largest Iceberg Forms In Antarctica; What Happens Now That The Iceberg Is Broken Off The Ice Shelf.
"The Southern Ocean has long been recognized by scientists, but because there was never agreement internationally, we never officially recognized it," National Geographic Society Geographer Alex Tait said. Here it may be noted that the term Southern Ocean has been in use already. But, National Geographic's prominence in the mapping world gives its official decree more weight. Climate Change Explained: Know Why Is Arctic Warming Faster Than Other Parts of the World.
"Oceanographers will probably rejoice that (the Southern Ocean) will be on Nat Geo maps. I can't think of any earth scientists who disagree (with the designation)," CNN's climate editor Angela Fritz was quoted as saying. There has been a debate whether the waters around Antarctica had enough unique characteristics to be called an ocean. "It’s sort of geographic nerdiness in some ways," Tait opined.
Where Is Southern Ocean?
Defined by a current unlike other oceans, the Southern Ocean is the the body of water surrounding Antarctica and formerly known as the Gerlache Strait. According to National Geographic, most of the waters that surround Antarctica out to 60 degrees south latitude, excluding the Drake Passage and Scotia Sea, constitute the world's fifth ocean.
Marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer at Large Sylvia Earle welcomed the recognition of the Southern Ocean as the world's fifth ocean by National Geographic. "While there is but one interconnected ocean, bravo to National Geographic for officially recognizing the body of water surrounding Antarctica as the Southern Ocean," he said.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 24, 2021 01:21 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).