Source: NASA via AP
National Geographic announced it will be adding a fifth ocean to the map – the Southern Ocean – after revealing it is officially recognizing the body of water surrounding the Antarctic.
“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 statement.
“It’s sort of geographic nerdiness in some ways,” Tait said. “We’ve always labeled it, but we labeled it slightly differently [than other oceans]. This change was taking the last step and saying we want to recognize it because of its ecological separation.”
The change is the first time in over 100 years that National Geographic has redrawn the world’s oceans on its maps. Up until now the maps have included four oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic.
We're excited to bring attention to the Southern Ocean—and with it the richness of this marine ecosystem, which programs like @insidenatgeo's Pristine Seas initiative are working hard to protect https://t.co/kFr50eNq2i— National Geographic (@NatGeo) June 8, 2021
According to National Geographic, the Southern Ocean stretches from Antarctica’s coastline to 60 degrees south latitude, excluding the Drake Passage and the Scotia Sea, and is the second-smallest ocean, after the Arctic.