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GJW Direct 2020

Southern Ocean officially recognised as Earth's 5th Ocean

by Daria Blackwell 12 Jun 15:09 UTC

Coincident with World Oceans Day, National Geographic announced that it is officially recognizing the Southern Ocean as the Earth's fifth ocean.

Since 1915, when National Geographic began making maps, it has recognized four oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. Beginning June 8, World Oceans Day, it has recognized the Southern Ocean as the world's fifth ocean.

As defined by National Geographic, the boundary of the Southern Ocean follows a sinuous route along the Antarctic Convergence at 60 degrees south latitude extending out from the continent's coastline but excluding the Drake Passage and the Scotia Sea. What makes the Southern Ocean different is that, rather than being defined largely by the land that inhabits it, this body of water is unique because of a current that surges within it. A conveyor belt of colder less salty water that supports an incredible habitat for thousands of species.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also recognized the Southern Ocean's designation earlier this year. However, they make the point that there is really only one world ocean, but five named oceans: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and now Southern.

Of course, members of the OCC have always known the Southern Ocean was different and many have experienced it personally; a few have even circumnavigated Antarctica. Driven by an intense desire to experience the little known, OCC members have explored where few others have gone.

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This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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