National Geographic

National Geographic Adds 5th Ocean to World Map

National Geographic announced it was recognizing the body of water encircling the Antarctic as the Earth's fifth ocean: the Southern Ocean

Tabular icebergs at the Antarctic
Adriana Tamayo / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

National Geographic announced Tuesday that it is officially recognizing the body of water surrounding the Antarctic as the Earth's fifth ocean: the Southern Ocean.

NBC News reports the change marks the first time in over a century that the organization has redrawn the world's oceanic maps, which have historically only included four: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans.

“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 told the magazine.

The Southern Ocean stretches from Antarctica's coastline to 60 degrees south latitude, excluding the Drake Passage and the Scotia Sea, according to the National Geographic. The newest body of water makes it the second-smallest, after the Arctic.

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