The Fifth Ocean

Cartographers at the National Geographic officially recognised the fifth ocean. This is the body of water that surrounds Antarctica, and is known as the Southern Ocean. Though the ocean was recognized by scientists there was no agreement internationally.

The Southern Ocean will now have the same status as the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, as well as the same typeface. This waterbody was in existence since Antarctica and South America split 30 million years ago.

As per the experts this is the only ocean that “touches three other oceans and entirely embraces a continent rather than being enveloped by them.”

The Southern Ocean stretches from the Antarctic continent to the line of latitude at 60° south, which marks the approximate edge of a strong underwater current. Around Antarctica, the current travels from west to east.

The ocean’s ecosystem thrives on huge numbers of Antarctic krill. These tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans may be small fry at the bottom of the food chain, but they are one of the most important animals in the Southern Ocean.Many of the animals in the Southern Ocean either eat krill, or eat the animals that eat krill. The Southern Ocean is unique biologically, it faces critical threats from climate change while at the same time it is home to some of the most intact marine ecosystems on the planet.

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