(WWLP) – During your years in geography class, many of us have learned that there are four oceans of the world: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic.
Well recently, National Geographic is adding a fifth ocean into the list, an ocean that has been unofficially recognized by scientists all over the world for many years now.
This fifth ocean was first recognized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1999 and the U.S Boards on Geographic Names approved the name “Southern Ocean.”
It was in 2000, that the idea and boundaries of this new ocean were proposed to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), but not all members of the IHO were in agreement with it.
National Geographic uses the IHO as one of their main references, so without their full approval on the new ocean, National Geographic did not recognize this ocean in most of their maps, until this past week.
The original four oceans are separated from each other by land, but the Southern Ocean is separated by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, or ACC for short. This fast moving current moves west to east around Antarctica and is colder and less salty than the neighboring ocean.
Southern Ocean is now considered to be the second smallest ocean, with the Arctic Ocean being the smallest.
National Geographic made this announcement official on “World Oceans Day,” which was June 8.