Related topics: climate change

Vast phytoplankton blooms may be lurking beneath Antarctic ice

Until now, it's been a common belief that the packed sea ice of the Southern Ocean blocked all light from reaching the sea beneath, preventing phytoplankton—tiny algae that are the base of aquatic food webs—from growing ...

Antarctic glaciers vulnerable to rising temperatures

On the East Antarctic Plateau there are huge glaciers under the sea. In order to improve future scenarios related to rising sea levels, scientists need to understand the ways in which these glaciers will respond to rising ...

Study hints at how fishes in the twilight zone evolved

A new study, led by British Antarctic Survey and the University of Bristol, provides the first evidence that a controversial evolutionary process may be responsible for lanternfishes becoming one of the most diverse families ...

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Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean, also known as the Great Southern Ocean, the Antarctic Ocean and the South Polar Ocean, comprises the southernmost waters of the World Ocean south of 60° S latitude. The International Hydrographic Organization has designated the Southern Ocean as an oceanic division encircling Antarctica. Geographers disagree on the Southern Ocean's northern boundary or even its existence (see below), sometimes considering the waters part of the South Pacific, South Atlantic, and Indian Oceans instead.

Some scientists consider the Antarctic Convergence, an ocean zone which fluctuates seasonally, as separating the Southern Ocean from other oceans, rather than 60° S. This ocean zone is where cold, northward flowing waters from the Antarctic mix with warmer sub-Antarctic waters.

The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) regards the Southern Ocean as the fourth-largest of the five principal oceanic divisions and the latest-defined one. The IHO promulgated the decision on its existence in 2000, though many mariners have long regarded the term as traditional. The Southern Ocean appeared in the IHO's Limits of Oceans and Seas second edition (1937), disappeared from the third edition (1957), and resurfaced in the fourth edition (not yet[update] formally adopted due to a number of unresolved disputes, including the lodgement of a reservation by Australia). This change reflects the importance placed by oceanographers on ocean currents.[clarification needed]

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