National Geographic Society declares Earth now has five oceans


For years, talk over the immense geography of our planet has come to a standstill when it comes to declaring bodies of water as oceans. Numerous debates have taken place over the years regarding these designations. However, one thing to note is that various groups, bodies, and societies have looked to make their own declarations known. One such declaration is that there are now five oceans within our world. Alongside those already declared, the National Geographic Society has now declared that the Southern Ocean around Antarctica is now an ocean.

The non-profit group is seen as an authority on such matters. The group announced that after much deliberation and decision-making, they have decided to accept the body as a separate ocean. This will be the fifth ocean that is now recognized by the group. Why is their opinion so important, you ask? Simple: they have been in the business of making maps since 1915. Now, we have five oceans alongside the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans.

What does this mean? For the average person, not much. It’s an interesting perspective, though, on just how much the world around us changes and shifts. As the years go by, various scientific and organizational bodies make these decisions and declarations that make the world look a little bit different on a whole range of maps and the like.

Why was this decision made? The group suggests that the cartographers who work within the NGS suggested that the swift current that circles Antarctica means its waters are pretty distinct. Too distinct to be claimed as part of any other ocean, anyway.

Official recognition

Interestingly, though, they make the distinction that science has long seen the Southern Ocean as its own body anyway. The NGS, though, has now ‘officially’ made the declaration to agree. They say that over the years, they have noticed a large increase in the number of scientific and research bodies that point towards the existence of the ocean. As such, they see it as important to recognize the ocean, too, so that there is more consensus among the key bodies who study our oceans and the world that we reside in.

Interestingly, this is the only ocean that has been declared based on the characteristics of its current as opposed to the continents that make up the landmass surrounding the ocean itself. According to research bodies, the Southern Ocean is a relative baby compared to other major oceans; indeed, it was only formed when Antarctica and South America moved apart in the last 30 million years or so.

It’s an interesting change in landscape, though, and shows us just how things adjust and change as the years progress and we understand our world a little bit more. However, it’s also important to note that while this is now an official distinction from the NGS, it’s still a topic of debate for some. Who knows how many oceans we will recognize in the next century?