On June 8, 2021, people around the world celebrated World Oceans Day. Well-known publisher National Geographic had a special way of celebrating this important holiday. The company – which has been a leading map maker since 1915 – has announced that it will now recognize the world’s fifth ocean. The Southern Ocean includes the cold waters around Antarctica. Its official recognition and inclusion on the maps is a step towards recognizing the unique importance of this area.
While National Geographic has just officially recognized the Southern Ocean as a separate body of water, the issue has been under discussion for many years. The waters around Antarctica were known as the Southern Ocean for years, but had no official name. Scientists have long studied and highlighted the low temperatures and the unique marine life in the region that surrounds the southernmost continent. These are just some of the characteristics of the water through which the Antarctic Circular Current (ACC) flows.
This current surrounds Antarctica and contributes to the water cycle that carries heat from the South Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. ACC cold water also stores carbon in the depths of the ocean, which makes them very important for the environment.
Now, their unique role in the ecology and hydrography of the planet will be officially recognized. Although the U.S. Geographical Names Council has recognized the Southern Ocean since 1999, it was not until 2021 that National Geographic and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officially added the ocean to the map.
The Southern Ocean is added to the five oceans of the Arctic, Indian, Atlantic and Pacific. According to National Geographic Society geographer Alex Tait, the addition is important for many reasons. “I think one of the biggest impacts is through education,” he said. “Students learn information about the world of the oceans through the material they study. “If we do not include the Southern Ocean, then they do not learn its peculiarities and how important it is.” The official recognition of the Southern Ocean recognizes its importance to the planet.
Source: Εναλλακτική Δράση by enallaktikidrasi.com.
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