Most of us learned in school that our planet has four oceans: the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Indian, and the Arctic. But another one is officially added to the list by National Geographic, as a result of more and more scientists who were recognizing an area of waters as distinct.
The Hill brings the exciting news of National Geographic announcing the decision of recognizing the waters that surround Antarctica as the world’s fifth official ocean. Therefore, in honour of World Oceans Day, the famous news network adds the Southern Ocean to the list of Earth’s official oceans.
The Southern Ocean is ‘so unique’
Alex Tait from National Geographic Society declared for NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ that while the four previously-recognized oceans of Earth are mainly defined by landmasses, the Southern Ocean is added to the list “because it’s so unique and because we want to bring attention to all areas of the ocean.”
National Geographic added that the newly recognized ocean could be differentiated based on the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). The waters from ACC are colder and less salty than those from the north.
Oddly enough, not all researchers were expecting the recognition of the Southern Ocean. Cassandra Brooks is one of them, who is an assistant professor in environmental studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She said, as cited by NPR:
To be completely honest with you, I was rather surprised because I had always thought of the Southern Ocean as its own ocean,
I think most of the scientists who work down there really understand how the Southern Ocean is its own thing.
With the Earth’s 5th ocean being officially recognized, we can expect those maps and atlases from schools to be updated pretty soon.