Borders of the oceans

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Rotating series of maps showing alternate divisions of the oceans
Maps exhibiting the world's oceanic waters. A continuous body of water encircling the Earth, the world (global) ocean is divided into a number of principal areas. Five oceanic divisions are usually recognized: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern; the last two listed are sometimes consolidated into the first three.

The borders of the oceans are the limits of the Earth's oceanic waters. The definition and number of oceans can vary depending on the adopted criteria.

Overview[edit]

Though generally described as several separate oceans, the world's oceanic waters constitute one global, interconnected body of salt water sometimes referred to as the World Ocean or global ocean.[1][2] This concept of a continuous body of water with relatively free interchange among its parts is of fundamental importance to oceanography.[3]

The major oceanic divisions are defined in part by the continents, various archipelagos, and other criteria. The principal divisions (in descending order of area) are the: Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and Southern (Antarctic) Ocean. Smaller regions of the oceans are called seas, gulfs, bays, straits, and other names.

Geologically, an ocean is an area of oceanic crust covered by water. Oceanic crust is the thin layer of solidified volcanic basalt that covers the Earth's mantle. Continental crust is thicker but less dense. From this perspective, the earth has three oceans: the World Ocean, the Caspian Sea,[citation needed] and Black Sea. The latter two were formed by the collision of Cimmeria with Laurasia. The Mediterranean Sea is at times a discrete ocean, because tectonic plate movement has repeatedly broken its connection to the World Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar. The Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean through the Bosporus, but the Bosporus is a natural canal cut through continental rock some 7,000 years ago, rather than a piece of oceanic sea floor like the Strait of Gibraltar.

Despite their names, smaller landlocked bodies of saltwater that are not connected with the World Ocean, such as the Aral Sea, are actually salt lakes.

A complete hierarchy showing which seas belong to which oceans, according to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and for the whole planet, is available at the European Marine Gazetteer website.[4] See also the list of seas article for the seas included in each ocean area. Also note there are many varying definitions of the world's seas and no single authority.

The borders of the Arctic Ocean, according to the CIA The World Factbook[5] (blue area), and as defined by the IHO (black outline - excluding marginal waterbodies).

Arctic Ocean[edit]

The Arctic Ocean covers much of the Arctic and washes upon northern North America and Eurasia and is sometimes considered a sea or estuary of the Atlantic.[6][7]

The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) defines the limits of the Arctic Ocean (excluding the seas it contains) as follows:[8]

Between Greenland and West Spitzbergen [sic] — The Northern limit of Greenland Sea.[Ar 1]
Between West Spitzbergen and North East Land — the parallel of lat. 80°N.
From Cape Leigh Smith to Cape Kohlsaat — the Northern limit of Barentsz Sea [sic].[Ar 2]
From Cape Kohlsaat to Cape Molotov — the Northern limit of Kara Sea.[Ar 3]
From Cape Molotov to the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island — the Northern limit of Laptev Sea.[Ar 4]
From the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island to the Northern point of Wrangel Island — the Northern limit of East Siberian Sea.[Ar 5]
From the Northern point of Wrangel Island to Point Barrow — the Northern limit of Chuckchi Sea [sic].[Ar 6]
From Point Barrow to Cape Land's End on Prince Patrick Island — the Northern limit of Beaufort Sea,[Ar 7] through the Northwest coast of Prince Patrick Island to Cape Leopold M'Clintock, thence to Cape Murray (Brook Island) and along the Northwest coast to the extreme Northerly point; to Cape Mackay (Borden Island); through the Northwesterly coast of Borden Island to Cape Malloch, to Cape Isachsen (Ellef Ringnes Island); to the Northwest point of Meighen Island to Cape Stallworthy (Axel Heiberg Island) to Cape Colgate the extreme West point of Ellesmere Island; through the North shore of Ellesmere Island to Cape Columbia thence a line to Cape Morris Jesup (Greenland).

Note that these definitions exclude any marginal waterbodies that are separately defined by the IHO (such as the Kara Sea and East Siberian Sea), though these are usually considered to be part of the Arctic Ocean.

The CIA defines the limits of the Arctic Ocean slightly differently, as depicted in the image to the right.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining the Northernmost point of Spitzbergen [sic] [Svalbard] to the Northernmost point of Greenland".
  2. ^ Defined by IHO as "Cape Leigh Smith across the Islands Bolshoy Ostrov (Great Island) [Storøya], Gilles [Kvitøya] and Victoria; Cape Mary Harmsworth (Southwestern extremity of Alexandra Land) along the northern coasts of Franz-Josef Land as far as Cape Kohlsaat (81°14′N 65°10′E / 81.233°N 65.167°E / 81.233; 65.167)".
  3. ^ Defined by IHO as "Cape Kohlsaat to Cape Molotov (81°16′N 93°43′E / 81.267°N 93.717°E / 81.267; 93.717) (Northern extremity of Severnaya Zemlya on Komsomolets Island)".
  4. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining Cape Molotov to the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island (76°10′N 138°50′E / 76.167°N 138.833°E / 76.167; 138.833)".
  5. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line from the Northernmost point of Wrangel Island (179°30'W) to the Northern sides of the De Long Islands (including Henrietta and Jeannette Islands) and Bennett Island, thence to the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island".
  6. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line from Point Barrow, Alaska (71°20′N 156°20′W / 71.333°N 156.333°W / 71.333; -156.333) to the Northernmost point of Wrangel Island (179°30'W)".
  7. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Lands End, Prince Patrick Island (76°16′N 124°08′W / 76.267°N 124.133°W / 76.267; -124.133)".

Atlantic Ocean[edit]

The Atlantic Ocean, according to the CIA The World Factbook[9] (blue area), and as defined by the IHO (black outline - excluding marginal waterbodies).

The Atlantic Ocean separates the Americas from Eurasia and Africa. It may be further subdivided by the equator into northern and southern portions.

North Atlantic[edit]

The 3rd edition of the International Hydrographic Organization's (IHO) Limits of Oceans and Seas defines the limits of the North Atlantic Ocean (excluding the seas it contains) as follows:[8]

On the West. The Eastern limits of the Caribbean Sea,[At 1] the Southeastern limits of the Gulf of Mexico[At 2] from the North coast of Cuba to Key West, the Southwestern limit of the Bay of Fundy[At 3] and the Southeastern and Northeastern limits of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.[At 4]
On the North. The Southern limit of Davis Strait[At 5] from the coast of Labrador to Greenland and the Southwestern limit of the Greenland Sea[At 6] and Norwegian Sea[At 7] from Greenland to the Shetland Islands.
On the East. The Northwestern limit of the North Sea,[At 8] the Northern and Western limits of the Scottish Seas,[At 9] the Southern limit of the Irish Sea,[At 10] the Western limits of the Bristol[At 11] and English Channels,[At 12] of the Bay of Biscay[At 13] and of the Mediterranean Sea.[At 14]
On the South. The equator, from the coast of Brazil to the Southwestern limit of the Gulf of Guinea.[At 15]

South Atlantic[edit]

The 3rd edition of the International Hydrographic Organization's (IHO) Limits of Oceans and Seas defines the limits of the South Atlantic Ocean (excluding the seas it contains) as follows:[8]

On the Southwest. The meridian of Cape Horn, Chile (67°16'W) from Tierra del Fuego to the Antarctic Continent; a line from Cape Virgins (52°21′S 68°21′W / 52.350°S 68.350°W / -52.350; -68.350) to Cape Espiritu Santo, Tierra del Fuego, the Eastern entrance to Magellan Strait, Chile
On the West. The limit of the Rio de La Plata.[At 16]
On the North. The Southern limit of the North Atlantic Ocean.
On the Northeast. The limit of the Gulf of Guinea.[At 15]
On the Southeast. From Cape Agulhas along the meridian of 20° East to the Antarctic continent.
On the South. The Antarctic Continent.

Note that these definitions exclude any marginal waterbodies that are separately defined by the IHO (such as the Bay of Biscay and Gulf of Guinea), though these are usually considered to be part of the Atlantic Ocean.

In 2000 the IHO redefined the Atlantic Ocean, moving its southern limit to 60°S, with the waters south of that line identified as the Southern Ocean. This new definition has not yet been ratified (a reservation has been lodged by Australia)[10] though it is in use by the IHO and others. If and when adopted, the 2000 definition will be published in the 4th edition of Limits of Oceans and Seas, restoring the Southern Ocean as originally outlined in the 2nd edition and subsequently omitted from the 3rd edition.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Defined by IHO as "From Point San Diego (Puerto Rico) Northward along the meridian thereof (65°39'W) to the 100 fathom line, thence Eastward and Southward, in such a manner that all islands, shoals and narrow waters of the Lesser Antilles are included in the Caribbean Sea as far as Galera Point (Northeast extremity of the island of Trinidad). From Galera Point through Trinidad to Galeota Point (Southeast extreme) and thence to Baja Point (9°32′N 61°0′W / 9.533°N 61.000°W / 9.533; -61.000) in Venezuela".
  2. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining Cape Catoche Light (21°37′N 87°04′W / 21.617°N 87.067°W / 21.617; -87.067) with the Light on Cape San Antonio in Cuba, through this island to the meridian of 83°W and to the Northward along this meridian to the latitude of the South point of the Dry Tortugas (24°35'N), along this parallel Eastward to Rebecca Shoal (82°35'W) thence through the shoals and Florida Keys to the mainland at eastern end of Florida Bay, all the narrow waters between the Dry Tortugas and the mainland being considered to be within the Gulf".
  3. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line running northwesterly from Cape St. Mary (44°05'N) Nova Scotia, through Machias Seal Island (67°06'W) and on to Little River Head (44°39'N) in the State of Maine".
  4. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line from Cape Canso (45°20′N 61°0′W / 45.333°N 61.000°W / 45.333; -61.000) to Red Point (45°35′N 60°45′W / 45.583°N 60.750°W / 45.583; -60.750) in Cape Breton Island, through this Island to Cape Breton and on to Pointe Blanche (46°45′N 56°11′W / 46.750°N 56.183°W / 46.750; -56.183) in the Island of St. Pierre, and thence to the Southwest point of Morgan Island (46°51′N 55°49′W / 46.850°N 55.817°W / 46.850; -55.817)" and "A line running from Cape Bauld (North point of Kirpon Island, 51°40′N 55°25′W / 51.667°N 55.417°W / 51.667; -55.417) to the East extreme of Belle Isle and on to the Northeast Ledge (52°02′N 55°15′W / 52.033°N 55.250°W / 52.033; -55.250). Thence a line joining this ledge with the East extreme of Cape St. Charles (52°13'N) in Labrador".
  5. ^ Defined by IHO as "The parallel of 60° North between Greenland and Labrador".
  6. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining Straumness (NW extreme of Iceland) to Cape Nansen (68°15′N 29°30′W / 68.250°N 29.500°W / 68.250; -29.500) in Greenland".
  7. ^ Defined by IHO as "From a point on the West coast of Norway in Latitude 61°00' North along this parallel to Longitude 0°53' West thence a line to the NE extreme of Fuglö (62°21′N 6°15′W / 62.350°N 6.250°W / 62.350; -6.250 (Fuglö)) and on to the East extreme of Gerpir (65°05′N 13°30′W / 65.083°N 13.500°W / 65.083; -13.500 (Gerpir)) in Iceland".
  8. ^ Defined by IHO as "From Dunnet Head (3°22'W) in Scotland to Tor Ness (58°47'N) in the Island of Hoy, thence through this island to the Kame of Hoy (58°55'N) on to Breck Ness on Mainland (58°58'N) through this island to Costa Head (3°14'W) and to Inga Ness (59'17'N) in Westray through Westray, to Bow Head, across to Mull Head (North point of Papa Westray) and on to Seal Skerry (North point of North Ronaldsay) and thence to Horse Island (South point of the Shetland Islands)".
  9. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line running from Bloody Foreland (55°10′N 8°17′W / 55.167°N 8.283°W / 55.167; -8.283) in Ireland to the West point of Tory Island, on to Barra Head, the Southwest point of the Hebrides, thence through these islands, in such a manner that the West coasts of the main islands appertain to the Atlantic Ocean and all the narrow waters appertain to the Inner Seas, as far as the Butt of Lewis (North Point), and thence to Cape Wrath (58°37'N) in Scotland".
  10. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining St. David's Head (51°54′N 5°19′W / 51.900°N 5.317°W / 51.900; -5.317) to Carnsore Point (52°10′N 6°22′W / 52.167°N 6.367°W / 52.167; -6.367)".
  11. ^ Defined by IHO as "a line joining Hartland Point [in Devon] (51°01′N 4°32′W / 51.017°N 4.533°W / 51.017; -4.533) to St. Govan's Head [in Pembrokeshire] (51°36′N 4°55′W / 51.600°N 4.917°W / 51.600; -4.917)".
  12. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining Isle Vierge (48°38′23″N 4°34′13″W / 48.63972°N 4.57028°W / 48.63972; -4.57028) to Lands End (50°04′N 5°43′W / 50.067°N 5.717°W / 50.067; -5.717)".
  13. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining Cap Ortegal (43°46′N 7°52′W / 43.767°N 7.867°W / 43.767; -7.867) to Penmarch Point (47°48′N 4°22′W / 47.800°N 4.367°W / 47.800; -4.367)".
  14. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining the extremities of Cape Trafalgar (Spain) and Cape Spartel (Africa)".
  15. ^ a b Defined by IHO as "A line running Southeastward from Cape Palmas in Liberia to Cape Lopez (0°38′S 8°42′E / 0.633°S 8.700°E / -0.633; 8.700)".
  16. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining Punta del Este, Uruguay (34°58.5′S 54°57.5′W / 34.9750°S 54.9583°W / -34.9750; -54.9583) and Cabo San Antonio, Argentina (36°18′S 56°46′W / 36.300°S 56.767°W / -36.300; -56.767)".

Indian Ocean[edit]

The Indian Ocean, according to the CIA The World Factbook[11] (blue area), and as defined by the IHO (black outline - excluding marginal waterbodies).

The Indian Ocean washes upon southern Asia and separates Africa and Australia.

The 3rd edition of the International Hydrographic Organization's (IHO) Limits of Oceans and Seas defines the limits of the Indian Ocean (excluding the seas it contains) as follows:[8]

On the North. The Southern limits of the Arabian Sea[I 1] and the Lakshadweep Sea,[I 2] the Southern limit of the Bay of Bengal,[I 3] the Southern limits of the East Indian Archipelago,[I 4] and the Southern limit of the Great Australian Bight.[I 5]
On the West. From Cape Agulhas in 20° long. East, Southward along this meridian to the Antarctic Continent.
On the East. From South East Cape, the Southern point of Tasmania down the meridian 146°55'E to the Antarctic Continent.
On the South. The Antarctic Continent.

Note that this definition excludes any marginal waterbodies that are separately defined by the IHO (such as the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea), though these are usually considered to be part of the Indian Ocean.

In 2000 the IHO redefined the Indian Ocean, moving its southern limit to 60°S, with the waters south of that line identified as the Southern Ocean. This new definition has not yet been ratified (a reservation has been lodged by Australia[10]) though it is in use by the IHO and others. If and when adopted, the 2000 definition will be published in the 4th edition of Limits of Oceans and Seas, restoring the Southern Ocean as originally outlined in the 2nd edition and subsequently omitted from the 3rd edition.

The boundary of the Indian Ocean is a constitutional issue for Australia. The Imperial South Australia Colonisation Act, 1834, which established and defined the Colony of South Australia defined South Australia’s southern limit as being the “Southern Ocean.” This definition was carried through to Australian constitutional law upon the Federation of Australia in 1901.


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line running from the South extremity of Addu Atoll (Maldives), to the Eastern extreme of Ràs Hafun (Africa, 10°26'N)".
  2. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line running from Dondra Head in Ceylon [Sri Lanka] to the most Southerly point of Addu Atoll".
  3. ^ Defined by IHO as "Adam's Bridge (between India and Ceylon and from the Southern extreme of Dondra Head (South point of Ceylon) to the North point of Poeloe Bras (5°44′N 95°04′E / 5.733°N 95.067°E / 5.733; 95.067)".
  4. ^ Defined by IHO as the southern limits of the Java Sea ("the North and West coasts of Java to Java Hoofd (6°46′S 105°12′E / 6.767°S 105.200°E / -6.767; 105.200) its Western point, and thence a line to Vlakke Hoek (5°55′S 104°35′E / 5.917°S 104.583°E / -5.917; 104.583) the Southern extreme of Sumatra"), the Bali Sea ("A line from Tanjong Banenan through the Southern points of Balt [sic] and Noesa Islands to Tanjong Bt Gendang, the Southwest extreme of Lombok, and its South coast to Tanjong Ringgit the Southeast extreme, thence a line to Tanjong Mangkoen (9°01′S 116°43′E / 9.017°S 116.717°E / -9.017; 116.717) the Southwest extreme of Soembawa"), the Savu Sea ("By a line from the Southwest point of Timor to the Northeast point of Roti, through this island to its Southwest point, thence a line to Poeloe Dana (10°49′S 121°17′E / 10.817°S 121.283°E / -10.817; 121.283) and to Tanjong Ngoendjoe, the Southern extreme of Soemba and through this island to Tanjong Karosso, its Western point"), and the western limit of the Timor Sea ("A line from Cape Londonderry to the Southwest point of Roti Island (10°56′S 122°48′E / 10.933°S 122.800°E / -10.933; 122.800)".
  5. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining West Cape Howe (35°08′S 117°37′E / 35.133°S 117.617°E / -35.133; 117.617) Australia to South West Cape, Tasmania".

Pacific Ocean[edit]

The Pacific Ocean according to the CIA The World Factbook[12] (blue area), and as defined by the IHO (black outline — excluding marginal waterbodies)

The Pacific is the ocean that separates Asia and Australia from the Americas. It may be further subdivided by the equator into northern and southern portions.

North Pacific[edit]

The 3rd edition of the International Hydrographic Organization's (IHO) Limits of Oceans and Seas defines the limits of the North Pacific Ocean (excluding the seas it contains) as follows:[8]

On the Southwest. The Northeastern limit of the East Indian Archipelago from the Equator to Luzon Island.
On the West and Northwest. The Eastern limits of the Philippine Sea[P 1] and Japan Sea[P 2] and the Southeastern limit of the Sea of Okhotsk.[P 3]
On the North. The Southern limits of the Bering Sea[P 4] and the Gulf of Alaska.[P 5]
On the East. The Western limit of Coastal waters of Southeast Alaska and Br. Columbia,[P 6] and the Southern limit of the Gulf of California.[P 7]
On the South. The Equator, but excluding those islands of the Gilbert and Galàpagos Groups which lie to the Northward thereof.

South Pacific[edit]

The 3rd edition of the International Hydrographic Organization's (IHO) Limits of Oceans and Seas defines the limits of the South Pacific Ocean (excluding the seas it contains) as follows:[8]

On the West. From Southeast Cape, the Southern point of Tasmania, down the meridian of 146°55'E to the Antarctic continent.
On the Southwest and Northwest. The Southern, Eastern and Northeastern limits of the Tasman Sea,[P 8][P 9][P 10] the Southeastern and Northeastern limits of the Coral Sea,[P 11][P 12] the Southern, Eastern and Northern limits of the Solomon[P 13][P 14] and Bismark [sic][P 15] seas, and the Northeastern limit of the East Indian Archipelago from New Guinea to the Equator.
On the North. The Equator, but including those islands of the Gilbert and Galàpagos Groups which lie to the Northward thereof.
On the East. The meridian of Cape Horn (67°16'W) from Tierra del Fuego to the Antarctic continent; a line from Cape Virgins (52°21′S 68°21′W / 52.350°S 68.350°W / -52.350; -68.350) to Cape Espititu Santo, Tierra del Fuego, the Eastern entrance to Magellan Strait. (These limits have not yet been officially accepted by Argentina and Chile.)
On the South. The Antarctic continent.

Note that these definitions exclude any marginal waterbodies that are separately defined by the IHO (such as the Gulf of Alaska and Coral Sea), though these are usually considered to be part of the Pacific Ocean.

In 2000 the IHO redefined the Pacific Ocean, moving its southern limit to 60°S, with the waters south of that line identified as the Southern Ocean. This new definition has not yet been ratified (a reservation has been lodged by Australia[10]) though it is in use by the IHO and others. If and when adopted, the 2000 definition will be published in the 4th edition of Limits of Oceans and Seas, restoring the Southern Ocean as originally outlined in the 2nd edition and subsequently omitted from the 3rd edition.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Defined by IHO as "By the ridge joining Japan to the Bonin, Volcano and Ladrone (Mariana) Islands, all these being included in the Philippine Sea".
  2. ^ Defined by IHO as "In the Tsugaru Kaikô. From the extremity of Siriya Saki (141°28'E) to the extremity of Esan Saki (41°48'N)".
  3. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line running from Nosyappu Saki (Cape Noshap, 43°23'N) in the Islanad of Hokusyû (Yezo) through the Kuril or Tisima Islands to Cape Lopatka (South point of Kamchatka) in such a way that all the narrow waters between Hokusyû and Kamchatka are included in the Sea of Okhotsk".
  4. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line running from Kabuch Point (54°48′N 163°21′W / 54.800°N 163.350°W / 54.800; -163.350) in the Alaskan Peninsula, through the Aleutian Islands to the South extremes of the Komandorski Islands and on to Cape Kamchatka in such a way that all the narrow waters between Alaska and Kamchatka are included in the Bering Sea".
  5. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line drawn from Cape Spencer, the Northern limit of [the Coastal Waters of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia] to Kabuch Point, the Southeast limit of [the Bering Sea], in such a way that all the adjacent islands are included in the Gulf of Alaska".
  6. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line running westerly from Black Rock Point (50°44',5N) in Vancouver Island through the Scott Islands in such a way that all the narrow waters between these islands are included in the Coastal Waters, thence to Cape St. James (Southern extremity of Queen Charlotte Islands), through this group in the same way, then from Cape Knox (54°10′N 133°06′W / 54.167°N 133.100°W / 54.167; -133.100) Northward to the Western extreme of Langara Island and on to Point Cornwallis (132°52'W) in the Prince of Wales group, thence along the Western shores of this group, of Baranof, Kruzof, Chicagof, and Yakobi Islands, so that all the narrow waters between them are included in the coastal waters, and, finally, from Cape Bingham (58°04'N) in Yakobi Island to Cape Spencer (58°12′N 136°39′W / 58.200°N 136.650°W / 58.200; -136.650)".
  7. ^ Defined by IHO as "A line joining Piastla Point (23°38'N) in Mexico, and the Southern extreme of Lower California".
  8. ^ Southern limit defined by IHO as "A line joining the Southern point of Auckland Island (50°55′S 166°0′E / 50.917°S 166.000°E / -50.917; 166.000) to South East Cape, the Southern point of Tasmania"
  9. ^ Eastern limit defined by IHO as "In Cook Strait. A line joining the South extreme of the foul ground off Cape Palliser (Ngawi) and the Lighthouse on Cape Campbell (Te Karaka)" and "In Foveaux Strait (46°45'S). A line joining the Light on Waipapapa Point [sic] (168°33'E) with East Head (47'02'S) of Stewart Island (Rakiura)."
  10. ^ Northeastern limit defined by IHO as "From the South East Rock to the North point of Three Kings Islands (34°10′S 172°10′E / 34.167°S 172.167°E / -34.167; 172.167) thence to North Cape in New Zealand".
  11. ^ Southeastern limit defined by IHO as "A line from the Southeastern extreme of Aneityum Island to Southeast (Nokanhui) Islets (22°46′S 167°34′E / 22.767°S 167.567°E / -22.767; 167.567) off the Southeast extreme of New Caledonia, thence through the East point of Middleton Reef to the Eastern extreme of Elizabeth Reef (29°55′S 159°02′E / 29.917°S 159.033°E / -29.917; 159.033) and down this meridian to Latitude 30° South".
  12. ^ Northeastern limit defined by IHO as "From the Northernmost island of the Duff or Wilson Group through these islands to their Southeastern extreme, thence a line to Mera Lava, New Hebrides Islands [Vanuatu] (14°25′S 163°03′E / 14.417°S 163.050°E / -14.417; 163.050) and down the Eastern coasts of the islands of this Group to Aneityum Island (20°11′S 169°51′E / 20.183°S 169.850°E / -20.183; 169.850) in such a way that all the islands of these Groups, and the straits separating them, are included in the Coral Sea".
  13. ^ Southern limit defined by IHO as "The Northern limit of the Coral Sea between San Cristobal Island [Makira], Solomons, and Gado-Gadoa Island, off the Southeast extreme of New Guinea, thence a line to the Southern extreme of Rennell Island and from its Eastern point to Cape Surville, the Eastern extreme of San Cristobal Island".
  14. ^ Eastern limit definied by IHO as "By a line from the Southern point of New Ireland to the North point of Buka Island, through this island to the Northwest point of Bougainville Island, along the Southern coasts of Bougainville, Choisel [Choiseul], Ysabel [Santa Isabel], Malaita and San Cristobal Islands".
  15. ^ North and Eastern limit defined by IHO as "By the Northern and Northeastern coasts of the islands of New Ireland, New Hanover, the Admiralty Islands, Hermit Island, and the Ninigo Group, through Manu and Aua Islands to Wuvulu Island and thence a line to Baudissin Point in New Guinea (142°02'E)".

Southern or Antarctic Ocean[edit]

The Southern Ocean according to the CIA The World Factbook[13]

The Southern Ocean contains the waters that surround Antarctica and sometimes is considered an extension of Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.[8]

In 1928, the first edition of the International Hydrographic Organization's (IHO) Limits of Oceans and Seas publication included the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. The Southern Ocean was delineated by land-based limits - the continent of Antarctic to the south, and the continents of South America, Africa, and Australia plus Broughton Island, New Zealand in the north. The detailed land-limits used were Cape Horn in South America, Cape Agulhas in Africa, the southern coast of Australia from Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia, to South East Cape, Tasmania, via the western edge of the water body of Bass Strait, and then Broughton Island before returning to Cape Horn.[14]

The northern limits of the Southern Ocean were moved southwards in the IHO's 1937 second edition of the Limits of Oceans and Seas. The Southern Ocean then extended from Antarctica northwards to latitude 40° south between Cape Agulhas in Africa (long. 20° east) and Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia (long. 115° east), and extended to latitude 55° south between Auckland Island of New Zealand (long. 165° or 166° east) and Cape Horn in South America (long. 67° west).[15]

The Southern Ocean did not appear in the 1953 third edition because "...the northern limits ... are difficult to lay down owing to their seasonal change ... Hydrographic Offices who issue separate publications dealing with this area are therefore left to decide their own northern limits. (Great Britain uses the Latitude of 55° South)". Instead, in the IHO 1953 publication, the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans were extended southward, the Indian and Pacific Oceans (which had not previously touched pre 1953, as per the first and second editions) now abutted at the meridian of South East Cape, and the southern limits of the Great Australian Bight and the Tasman Sea were moved northwards.[16]

The IHO readdressed the question of the Southern Ocean in a survey in 2000. Of its 68 member nations, 28 responded, and all responding members except Argentina agreed to redefine the ocean, reflecting the importance placed by oceanographers on ocean currents. The proposal for the name Southern Ocean won 18 votes, beating the alternative Antarctic Ocean. Half of the votes supported a definition of the ocean's northern limit at 60°S (with no land interruptions at this latitude), with the other 14 votes cast for other definitions, mostly 50°S, but a few for as far north as 35°S.

The 4th edition of Limits of Oceans and Seas has yet to be published due to 'areas of concern' by several countries relating to various naming issues around the world. The IHB circulated a new draft of the 4th edition of the publication in August 2002, however there were still various changes, 60 seas were given new names, and even the name of the publication was changed.[17] A reservation had also been lodged by Australia regarding the Southern Ocean limits.[18] Effectively, the 3rd edition (which did not delineate the Southern Ocean leaving delineation to local hydrographic offices) has yet to be superseded.

Despite this, the 4th edition definition has de facto usage by many organisations, scientists and nations - even by the IHO.[19] Some nations' hydrographic offices have defined their own boundaries; the United Kingdom used the 55°S parallel for example.[16]

Other sources, such as the National Geographic Society, show the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans as extending to Antarctica, although articles on the National Geographic web site have begun to reference the Southern Ocean.[20]

In Australia, cartographical authorities defined the Southern Ocean as including the entire body of water between Antarctica and the south coasts of Australia and New Zealand. This delineation is basically the same as the original (first) edition of the IHO publication and effectively the same as the second edition. In the second edition, the Great Australian Bight was defined as the only geographical entity between the Australian coast and the Southern Ocean. Coastal maps of Tasmania and South Australia label the sea areas as Southern Ocean,[21] while Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia is described as the point where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ocean". The Columbia Encyclopedia. 2002. New York: Columbia University Press
  2. ^ "Distribution of land and water on the planet". UN Atlas of the Oceans
  3. ^ Spilhaus, Athelstan F. (July 1942). Maps of the whole world ocean. 32 (3). American Geographical Society). pp. 431–5. 
  4. ^ European Marine Gazetteer browser, MarBEF Data System - European Marine Gazetteer
  5. ^ "Arctic Ocean". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  6. ^ The Ocean, The MarineBio Conservation Society
  7. ^ Arctic Ocean, Encyclopædia Britannica
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition". International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Atlantic Ocean". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c Darby, Andrew (22 December 2003). "Canberra all at sea over position of Southern Ocean". The Age. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  11. ^ "Indian Ocean". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  12. ^ "Pacific Ocean". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  13. ^ "Southern Ocean". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "Map accompanying first edition of IHO Publication Limits of Oceans and Seas, Special Publication 23". NOAA Photo Library. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Map accompanying second edition of IHO Publication Limits of Oceans and Seas, Special Publication 23". NOAA Photo Library. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition". International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  17. ^ "IHO Special Publication 23". Korean Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Darby, Andrew (22 December 2003). "Canberra all at sea over position of Southern Ocean". The Age. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  19. ^ Schenke, Hans Werner (September 2003). "Proposal for the preparation of a new International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean". IHO International Hydrographic Committee on Antarctica (HCA). Third HCA Meeting, 8–10 September 2003. Monaco: International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "Southern Ocean - News Watch". National Geographic. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  21. ^ For example: Chart Aus343: Australia South Coast - South Australia - Whidbey Isles to Cape Du Couedic, Australian Hydrographic Service, 29 June 1990, retrieved 11 October 2010 , Chart Aus792: Australia - Tasmania - Trial Harbour to Low Rocky Point, Australian Hydrographic Service, 18 July 2008, retrieved 11 October 2010 
  22. ^ "- Assessment Documentation for Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse". Register of Heritage Places. 13 May 2005. p. 11. Retrieved 13 October 2010.