The Southern Ocean
The Southern Ocean became the fifth ocean in 2000. Unlike the other oceans, it is not separated from the other oceans by land. The Southern Ocean is separated by a strong surface current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
Why It Matters
- The other oceans are the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Arctic.
- The northern boundary of the Southern Ocean is the 60° South latitude line, which does not run across any land.
- The world’s largest current the Antarctic Circumpolar Current circles Antarctica.
- The Southern Ocean has a unique ecosystem. Protection efforts are stalled.
Some of Antarctic life includes Weddell seals, orcas, penguins, blue whales, krill, and mollusks.
Show What You Know
With the link below, learn more about the Southern Ocean. Then answer the following questions.
- Csiro, How does the ocean affect the climate? (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KUQKZuhCXU
- What reasons are there for the Southern Ocean to be considered an ocean?
- How does the Southern Ocean affect global climate?
- Why is the upwelling in the Southern Ocean important?
- Some people say there is only one ocean. What argument can you make for that idea?