/ 11 June 2021

Welcome to Oceans Five

A 5th ocean will be added for the first time in the National Geographic Society’s 100 years of mapping. The organisation says it will now recognise the Southern Ocean, an oceanic ring that encircles Antarctica. Its claim to fame: it’s the only ocean to touch 3 others (the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian). Scientists have long known there’s a distinct ecological region at the bottom of the world, but there hasn’t been any agreement on the boundary of the body of water. Geographers debated whether the waters around Antarctica had enough unique characteristics to deserve their own name or whether they were simply a cold, southern extension of the other oceans. National Geographic Society geographer Alex Tait said the recognition had been considered “for years” as the term ‘Southern Ocean’ was increasingly used by scientists and the press. For extra points, it joins the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific for ocean status.

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