The oceans hold 96.5 per cent of Earth’s water, with four oceans ever known to man; Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and the Artic Ocean. National Geographic has declared the presence of a fifth ocean, the Southern Ocean. There are now five oceans with the latest addition to the list.
Alex Tait, National Geographic Society Geographer said that the Southern Ocean had long been recognised by the scientists but as there was no agreement internationally, they never officially recognised it. The report had been published on National Geographic’s official website.
The Southern Ocean, the new fifth ocean in the world surrounds Antarctica, it encircles the Antarctica and would now have the same status as the Arctic, Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean, and even have the same typeface.
The new fifth ocean, the Southern Ocean howsoever is not quite new. The water body has existed ever since Antarctica and South America split 30 million years ago. According to the magazine, the Southern Ocean is the only ocean that touches the three other oceans and entirely embraces a continent rather than being enveloped by them. The northernmost point of the Southern Ocean is 60 degrees south latitude.
34 million years ago, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current had been formed and also defines it. The current travels around Antarctica, from west to east. The development had come at the time when the need to put more focus on the region’s peril and the need of conservation had become imminent.
Antarctica had been facing the impact of climate change and the rapid warming of the planet and the impact of the Southern Ocean is being studied by the scientists. The Southern Ocean is home to a delicate marine ecosystem that includes whale, seals and penguins.
International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) had difficulties in recognition of the ocean in 2000 as the boundaries of the ocean had been proposed but all the countries did not agree to it.