On World Oceans Day, the National Geographic announced that it would acknowledge a fifth ocean – the Southern Ocean. Thus far four oceans have been known: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic.
“The Southern Ocean has long been recognized by scientists, but because there was never agreement internationally, we never officially recognized it,” National Geographic Society Geographer Alex Tait said in a report on published on National Geographic’s official website.
Notably, while other oceans are identified by the region they surround, the Southern Ocean is defined by its current, the National Geography said in a report.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Southern Ocean covers 30 percent of the Earth’s ocean surface. It is made up of the waters encircling Antarctica.
The development came when the need to put more focus on the region’s peril and the need for conservation has became imminent.
Antarctica has been facing the brunt of climate change and rapid warming of the planet and scientists are studying the impact on the Southern Ocean, which is home to a delicate marine ecosystem that includes whales, penguins and seals.
In 2000, the boundaries of the ocean were proposed but all countries did not agree to it thus making it difficult to be recognised by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).