The Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean is also known as the Antarctic Ocean, South Polar Ocean, or the Great Southern Ocean and is made up of the larger southern ocean water of the universe.

The Southern Ocean is the fourth largest ocean in the world.

Its boundaries are not clearly known due to major disagreement on its existence.

Some of the specialists argue that the waters of the ocean are just stretches of other oceans such as the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.

The Southern Ocean is Located on the southern hemisphere 60 degrees of South latitude. The Southern Ocean covers approximately 4% of the universe.

The Southern Ocean Facts for Kids

  • The Southern Ocean covers a total area that is estimated to be approximately 20, 330,000 square kilometers which are equivalent to 7,850, 000 square miles.
  • The Southern Ocean has an average depth which ranges between 4000 meters to 5000 meters that are 13,000 and 16,000 feet.
  • The deepest point of the Southern Ocean is located on the southern end of the South Sandwich Trench which is about 23,737 deep.
  • The Southern Ocean is believed to have been formed about 30 million years ago, after the splitting of South America and Antarctica which resulted in the opening up of the Drake Passage making the ocean the youngest of all oceans of the universe.
  • The Southern Ocean waters are unique from the waters of other oceans since it contains some Antarctic Circumpolar Current which makes it flow quickly around Antarctica. This fact is used by the International Hydrographic Bureau in their justification for the existence of the Southern Ocean.
  • The Southern Ocean experiences adverse weather and climatic conditions since it is located near the South Pole. The sea temperatures rise above freezing point and range between negative 2 degrees and 10 degrees Celsius.
  • During the winters, ice and icebergs cover approximately half of the Southern Ocean. Some of the icebergs and ice cause the breakdown of the Antarctic ice sheet and flow into the waters of the Southern Ocean.
  • The Southern Ocean is a residential area of many marine birds and animals. In fact the marine mammals that live in the Southern Ocean are among the largest living creatures to have ever been discovered in the world. Such animals include blue whale, orcas, Antarctic fur seals, Weddell seals and leopard seals. Some of the birds living in the Southern Ocean include emperor penguin, king penguin, rockhopper penguin, albatross, terns, petrels and gulls.
  • In 1953 the Southern Ocean was removed from the publication referred to as Limits of Ocean, the publication clearly outlined the boundaries of the world’s main water bodies.
  • Although the Southern Ocean’s floor has not been widely explored, scientists believe that the floor contains numerous mineral deposits such as oil deposits, gold deposits, natural gas, manganese nodules among others.
  • 90 % of the world’s ice is contained in Antarctica. The Continent along the Southern Ocean boundaries is said to be the windiest and driest continent in the world.

Question: Which are the subdivisions of the Southern Ocean?

Answer: The Brans field Strait, the Drake Passage, the Bellingshausen Sea, the Amundsen Sea, the McMurdo Sound, the Ross Sea, the Somov Sea, the Dumont D’Urville Sea, the Mawson Sea, the Tryoshnikova Gulf, the Davis Sea, the Cooperation Sea, the Cosmonauts Sea, the Riiser-Larsen Sea, the Lazarev Sea, and the Weddell Sea.

Question: Which are the major operational ports on the Southern Ocean?

Answer: Rothera Station, Palmer Station, Villa Las Estrellas, Esperanza Base, Mawson Station, McMurdo Station, and offshore anchorages in Antarctica.