Washington: For the first time in the more than 100 years the National Geographic Society has mapped the world’s oceans, it will recognise five.
The organisation announced this week that it will recognise the body of water that encircles Antarctica and runs along Australia’s southern coast near Victoria and Tasmania, as the Southern Ocean, the world’s fifth.
“Scientists have long known there’s a distinct ecological region around Antarctica,” National Geographic Society geographer Alex Tait said in an interview.
But at least in the international scientific community, there hasn’t always been complete agreement on the name and boundary of this body of water.
US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said the federal agency recognised the body as the fifth ocean in 1999, when the US Board on Geographic Names approved the name “Southern Ocean”.
When the boundaries of the ocean were proposed in 2000 to the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO), which tracks and charts the world’s seas and oceans, not all IHO member countries were in agreement, according to NOAA.