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Southern Ocean: The Fifth Ocean

Veteran News
Veteran News
June 26, 2021
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National Geographic has announced the naming of a new ocean. Thus, making the Southern Ocean the world's 5th ocean. The body of water surrounding Antarctica is certainly unique. However, there was a multi-decade long debate about if it was unique enough to warrant its own name. Many scientists simply considered it as the southern region of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.The only ocean the Southern does not border is the Artic. Consequently, the unofficial boundaries were not always agreed upon, until now. National Geographic Society Geographer Alex Tait weighed in on the matter.Tait said, “The Southern Ocean has long been recognized by scientists, but because there was never agreement internationally, we never officially recognized it."Tait went on to remark, “It’s sort of geographic nerdiness in some ways."“We’ve always labeled it, but we labeled it slightly differently (than other oceans),” Tait elaborated. Furthermore stating, “This change was taking the last step and saying we want to recognize it because of its ecological separation.”What makes this body of water so unique is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). This current flows around Antarctica, and is colder, and less salty, than the oceans to the North. The ACC also moves more water than any other ocean current. This creates a sort of coverer belt throughout the planet where it connects with other oceans. As a result, it helps circulate, and transport, warmer water around the planet.It is also home to a distinctive marine ecosystem found nowhere else. Scientist hope that highlighting the distinguishing characteristics of this region will help them demonstrate the importance of its conservation.Stay tuned to American Grit for more news, stories and updates.

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