From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Southern Ocean
Mains level : NA
The National Geographic magazine has recognized the ‘Southern Ocean’ as the world’s fifth ocean June 8, 2021 hoping others will soon follow suit.
Answer this PYQ from CSP 2019 in the comment box:
Q.The most important fishing grounds of the world are found in the regions where:
(a) warm and cold atmospheric currents meet
(b) rivers drain out large amounts of freshwater into the sea
(c) warm and cold oceanic currents meet
(d) continental shelf is undulating
- The Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean, comprises the southernmost waters of the World Ocean, generally taken to be south of 60° S latitude and encircling Antarctica.
- As such, it is regarded as the second-smallest of the five principal oceanic divisions: smaller than the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans but larger than the Arctic Ocean.
- Over the past 30 years, the Southern Ocean has been subject to rapid climate change, which has led to changes in the marine ecosystem.
What has NatGeo attempted?
- The magazine says the Southern Ocean is the only ocean ‘to touch three other oceans and to completely embrace a continent rather than being embraced by them’.
- Its northern limit is a latitude of 60 degrees south.
- It is also defined by its Antarctic Circumpolar Current that was formed 34 million years ago. The current flows from west to east around Antarctica.
- The Southern Ocean is home to large populations of whales, penguins, and seals.
Why such a move?
- Usually, the magazine has followed the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) on marine names, it said in an article notifying the change.
- The IHO too had recognized ‘Southern Ocean’ as a distinct body of water surrounding Antarctica in 1937 but had repealed the same in 1953.