The ocean is defined by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
For the first time since map-making began more than a century ago, the National Geographic Society said it would recognize the Southern Ocean as the world’s fifth ocean.
The nonprofit has previously recognized four oceans: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic.
The Southern Ocean, which encircles Antarctica, has long been recognized by scientists, but society geographer Alex Tait An article announcing the decision said Because there was never an international consensus, it was never officially recognized by the National Geographic Society.
“I am excited that we are taking steps to officially recognize the Southern Ocean as the world’s fifth ocean,” Tait said in an email to Granthshala News on Thursday. “There is, of course, an interconnected world ocean, but it has regions. Traditionally there have been four regions but the waters around Antarctica are a unique fifth.”
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According to the article, cartographers deliberated whether the waters were merely an extension of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Did the cold body of necessity have enough defining characteristics to make it an official ocean?
National Geographic says the Southern Ocean is defined by a roughly 34 million-year-old current called the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC).
The water inside the ACC, which flows from west to east, is reportedly cold and salty compared to the waters of the Northern Ocean.
The ACC transports more water than any other ocean current, pulling in waters from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and activating a global circulation system known as the “conveyor belt”.
A continuously moving system of deep ocean circulation transports heat around the world, According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In addition, National Geographic noted that the colder and denser water that falls on Antarctica’s sea floor helps store carbon—a factor in climate—and that the water running through the ACC is warming.
“We chose to update our map policy to identify the Southern Ocean primarily because of its distinctive ecological features. This includes the circumpolar currents and winds that blow through Antarctica, the temperature and salinity gradient, and the region’s consequent effects on Earth’s climate. different,” Tait said, noting that drawing attention to the oceans “is an important part of geography education.”
“By drawing attention to the Southern Ocean, the National Geographic Society hopes to promote its conservation,” the publication said.
“We hope that by recognizing the Southern Ocean as Earth’s fifth ocean, attention will be drawn to the unique protections urgently needed in the region. This includes but is not limited to its unique and fragile marine ecosystems that are home to whales such as whales.” Is home to spectacular marine life, penguins, seals and species of fish,” Tait. “As climate changes we need to provide protected areas in all areas of the ocean, including the Southern Ocean.”
To date, more than 80% of the world’s oceans have not been mapped or explored.
While the National Geographic Society has been updating its maps for decades, major revisions are uncommon and, generally, maps follow International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) guidance on nautical names.
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While the IHO – which works with the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographic Names – recognized the Southern Ocean in 1937, It reversed course in 1953.
In contrast, the US Board on Geographic Names has used this name since 1999.
In February, NOAA officially recognized Southern Ocean too.