Talk:Southern Ocean

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Conservationist operations[edit]

Several conservationist groups, such as Greenpeace and Sea Shepard have conducted operations in Antarctica to protest against whaling.

Southern Ocean?[edit]

When did the Southern Ocean come into being? I thought Antarctica was surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the South Atlantic. I have never heard of a 'southern ocean' until I visited Wikipedia, having always been taught there were only four.

  • Did you read the article? Try the first three sentences. :-) Fawcett5 18:46, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I didn't know about the new designation until recently, either. This would make an excellent candidate for Featured Article.

I agree, I just stumbled upon this 'fifth' ocean as well.

Did you read that news article about that university that is banning the domain from its campus network for it being sch an unreliable resource? Gee, I wonder why. (talk) 06:12, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

"Only 28 of the world's 193 nations responded to the IHO survey in 2000, with just 18 voting for a new name, 'Southern Ocean.'"

18 countries? They can't just start inventing new oceans! There's only four in my book.

Well i was always taught that Australia was surrounded by three oceans- Pacific, Indian and Southern Soundabuser 13:32, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

"They can't just start inventing new oceans!" – It's simply a redefinition. What do you think about the metric system, which was defined in the 19th century? Even the English system, which was defined at one point, whereas before that time it was undefined. Do you measure a piece of paper by the number of thumb lengths that can fit end to end? D. F. Schmidt 16:51, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

In school we were taught Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic. Jude86 17:47, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Geography is not important in defining oceans today. It's oceanography that defines them.

Regional Oceanography: an Introduction by M. Tomczak and J. S. Godfrey, p64 (PDF):

Many oceanographers refer to the region around the continent of Antarctica as the Southern Ocean. The International Hydrographic Bureau, which is the authority responsible for the naming of oceanic features, does not recognize a sub-region of the world ocean of that name but includes its various parts in the other three oceans.
From an oceanographic point of view, subdivisions of the world ocean should reflect regional differences in its dynamics. The Southern Ocean certainly deserves its own name on that ground.

On the other hand, what is called the Arctic Ocean is not an ocean oceanographically.


It does not take much to realize that the impact of the Arctic region on the circulation and water masses of the World Ocean differs substantially from that of the Southern Ocean. The major reason is found in the topography. The Arctic Seas belong to a class of ocean basins known as mediterranean seas (Dietrich et al., 1980).

Oceanographers therefore define four (not five) oceans: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, and the Southern Oceans. I have added the book to the reference section of the article. - TAKASUGI Shinji 02:03, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Takasugi wrote, "Geography is not important in defining oceans today. It's oceanography that defines them."
I respectfully disagree. It is geography, not oceanography. Oceanography is to the geography of oceans as geology is the the geography of land. Asking oceanographers to redefine the maps of the oceans based on the composition of the water is like asking geologists to redefine the maps of the continents based on the composition of the rocks. It's out of their purview.
The [Encarta] definition of "geography" says that it is "the study of all the physical features of the Earth's surface," which is correct. The four oceans are the most prominant physical features of all, which makes this an issue of geography, not oceanography. Oceanographers have no business trying to redefine the geography of the earth. NCdave 11:32, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more with NCdave. And oceanographers are "all over the map", many saying that the Arctic is not an ocean, and as seen in the 2000 IHO vote (see article), in total disarray as to where to draw some imaginary line somehow defining the northern edge of the "Southern Ocean." Some voted for as far north as 35 degrees south (the same as the Mediterranean Sea, for a polar body of water!?.) Only hydrographers from 14 of the world's 193 nations voted for a definition of 60 degrees south as it's limit. National Geographic and other atlas makers are correct.....the so-called "Southern Ocean" is merely part of the South Pacific, South Atlantic, and Indian Oceans....the traditional practice most common for the entire 20th century.DLinth 16:45, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Its kind of like astronomers determining what a planet is. LONG LIVE PLUTO, the 9th planet!!! (talk) 21:56, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

There are four oceans that are clearly divided by land masses. This "Southern Ocean" seems to be the work of people who desire to be important. (talk) 14:35, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree, there are only 3 oceans - Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. That's all. The so called Southern Ocean is just a creation of human mind. It is a part of all 3 oceans. Norum (talk) 04:57, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Some factual clarification about the provenance of the name "Southern Ocean". It has been in use to describe the ocean to the south of Australia since 1804. [1] It is not a "recent" invention.Eregli bob (talk) 05:35, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

  1. ^

Climate heading[edit]

Does "drainage winds" refer to katabatic wind? D. F. Schmidt (talk) 07:31, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

should somebody not mention about "Antarctica Ocean" as a alternate name

Wouldn't that be "Antartic Ocean"? Yes, that's the name I was taught at school. Jimp 19Oct05

Ports and harbours[edit]

Palmer harbour's should link to Palmer (harbour) or Palmer harbour or some such, rather than a disambiguation page Palmer. Which one would be better? D. F. Schmidt (talk) 08:08, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

another name[edit]

should somebody not mention about "Antarctica Ocean" as an alternate name [anon edit from]

Can you cite a source for that? I will add the alternate name if you can show me that "Antarctica ocean" is used by some number of people. Cheers – Fudoreaper 21:22:01, 2005-09-11 (UTC)
  • I've never heard of the southern ocean before, but here everyone just calls it Antarctica ocean. It should at least be mentioned. Elfguy 03:10, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
The term Antarctic Ocean was once used. See the following excerpt of Encyclopædia Britannica: Antarctic Ocean. IHO has decided to call it Southern Ocean officially. - TAKASUGI Shinji 02:03, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
In fifty years of life, nor as both an avid recreational and professional sailor of thirty years plus, have I've ever heard of the 'Southern Ocean', nor seen it in print until two minutes ago following it's strange occurence in a Regions of the world template. It must be some newfangled invention by academics that is somehow percieved to be less incorrect or more P.C.! My recent atlas specifically mentions the equivilence: "There are five major oceans of the world— the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Artic, and Antartic (also known as the Southern or South Polar Ocean)." (Note the slight spelling differences.)
Book cite follows: Editors: List @ Random House, Ltd., ed. (2002 reprinted in 2004) [1999]. "The Oceans". "Geographica, The complete illustrated Atlas of the world" (softcover). Barnes & Noble Books (edition) (2004 reprinting of 2002 ed.). Auckland, Australia: Random House Australia Pty Ltd. p. 618. ISBN 076075974X. There are five major oceans of the world— the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Artic, and Antartic (also known as the Southern or South Polar Ocean).  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • So, I'm adding these alternate terms. Historical reference works and the corpus of printed literature far outweigh the internet and P.C. modern foolishness and 'recent fashion', and we must keep such references. // FrankB 23:38, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Southern Ocean? Are we serious here? Why is it that I'd bever heard of the Southern Ocean until some (probably unreliable as per usual) Wiki article mentioned it? Sorry, but when i was in school, not that long ago, there were FOUR oceans, and several seas; certainly someone decided to invent this ocean and write a Wiki article about it as if it were even real. (talk) 06:09, 28 September 2009 (UTC)


quite why the phrase 'this is gay' appeared at the end of the terrain section is a mystery....i've removed this homophobic slur from the entry. ahpook 15:11, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, I didn't write it, so I don't know what the intent was. It could have been simple vandalism. But it might have been an allusion to the redefinition of the word "gay," from its traditional meaning of "merry and cheerful," to its recent meaning of "homosexual."
The redefinition of the word "gay" had nothing to do with science, and everything to do with politics. Similarly, it seems that the attempt to redefine the oceans is also motivated, at least in part, by politics. For proof see M dorothy's contribution, here: [1]. NCdave 01:10, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

"Southern Ocean" mmm-hmm....[edit]

the "Southern Ocean" is not in any history or geography book on the planet. a bunch of rich countries cannot just get together and decide crap like this. there is no "southern" ocean...

Agreed. Real oceans are separated from one another primarily by land masses, just as real continents are separated from one another by seas and mountain ranges. This imaginary ocean is bounded by... oceans?
It was in every history and geography book I ever had in Australia. These "definitions of oceans" by people who have little more to go on than the fact that they weren't taught about them in the USA reeks of "our way is the right way and everyone else is wrong" (talk) 20:43, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
These "definitions of oceans" by people who have little more to go on than the fact that they weren't taught that way in Australia... Anyway, I think that the countries surrounding the Caribbean Sea need to redefine it as the Ocean of the Americas. I'm sure they can come up with some weird ocean current to justify it. Jsc1973 (talk) 23:39, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Some morons insist on calling the Caribbean Sea, the "American Mediterranean Sea".Eregli bob (talk) 05:27, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
How silly! You might as well declare the creation of the new continent of Atlantic, consisting of the coastal areas surrounding the Atlantic Ocean, formerly thought to be parts of North & South America, Africa, and Europe. NCdave 12:36, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
It was mentioned in World Book 2003 (or was it 2004?). Dreyfus2006 14:31, sometime in February (I'm not signed in)

Haha just wait'll the Ice caps melt, then there'll be no trouble defining it Tallrichard2 04:42, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

This article isn't deciding what the oceans of the world are, it just notes that under certain definitions used by some countries and organizations, there is a Southern Ocean. It's not a big deal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Difference in Names[edit]

I grew up in the 70s and we were taught there were 5 oceans. Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans.

By the early 80s in college the Arctic ocean was moved to be simply an "arm" of the Atlantic Ocean, the way the Baltic and the Black Sea are part of the Arctic.

Times change standards change. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:32, 30 December 2006 (UTC).

Where did you grow up? NCdave 22:03, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

This discussion is the same as the "Pluto is/is not a planet" Y'all need to stop living in the past and embrace this completely inconsequencial change in terminology. Tallrichard2 04:46, 5 April 2007 (UTC)


Compared to the Pacific Ocean article this article has no history of early exploration - anyone interested/know good sources? SatuSuro 15:12, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

That's because it's hard to have early exploration of something that was just invented six years ago. NCdave 12:53, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
heheh thats one way of thinking about it - the point is the physical southern ocean never got invented - its always been there... SatuSuro 01:43, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
And missing the point - antartic ocean redireccts here - so your point is a bit strange...SatuSuro 01:49, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Looking more at the other ocean articles - the lack of adequate history about the earlier form Antartic Ocean and the current named Southern Ocean makes this article the poorer cousin SatuSuro 04:17, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Asian Ocean?[edit]

Recently, a full-sized ocean has been discovered under Asia.

This seems like a rather important development. I wonder if theres an article about this Tallrichard2 04:51, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Which year is which? " (1957), " or " (1953)", or what?[edit]

Are they both true? Not likely.

[[ hopiakuta Please do sign your signature on your message. ~~ Thank You. -]] 21:35, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Interestingly, according to that Australia map, the concept of a Southern Ocean could have been as early as 1863. - Garsha (talk) 14:33, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposed oceans project[edit]

Anyone interested in joining a project to deal with the oceans is free to indicate their support at Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals#Oceans. John Carter (talk) 22:41, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Mythology/squids etc[edit]

Please note that I have deleted the paragraph - if it is re-instated - it needs:-

  • (1) A heading to separate mythology/folklore/ from the lead paragraph
  • (2) Context why it needs to be in this article and not elsewhere (encourage separate article area)
  • (3) Citations for every claim - its dubious - it needs sources

SatuSuro 04:30, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Second rate research[edit]

Back in 2000/2001 various newsy websites picked up a story that the IHO had released a 3rd edition of their Limits of Oceans and Seas, in which they reinstated the Southern Ocean, defining it as the water south of 60°S. e.g. [2][3] There are a couple of obvious errors there: firstly, the 3rd edition was published in 1953, so it would have to be a 4th edition; and secondly, a 4th edition was not published in 2000 or 2001, and in fact has not been published yet. The IHO website's only reference to a 4th edition is "4th edition in preparation".[4] In August 2007, the IHO provided a report to the Ninth United Nations Conference on the Standardisation of Geographic Names, which stated:[5]

"The edition in force is still the 3rd edition, dated 1953, which is available from the IHO website. A 4th edition of the publication has been under preparation for some time. It has not yet been finalized."

One can only conclude that (a) The proposal to reinstate the Southern Ocean has not yet been ratified and so is not yet in force; (b) the IHO currently does not recognise the Southern Ocean; and (c) we are promoting the incorrect notion that it does, based on a premature and error-riddled press release. Hesperian 00:31, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

I've reverted the redirect, per these links:
If the refs. need updating, let's update. --Ckatzchatspy 01:00, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Antarctic Convergenge[edit]

The explanation for the Antarctic Convergence in this article, namely that it's the convergence of two cirumpolar currents, one eastward, one westward, is completely incorrect. Whoever wrote this bit should correct is as soon as possible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ralph Timmermann (talkcontribs) 16:34, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I didn't write it, but I've tried to correct it. -- Avenue (talk) 23:07, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Ocean area[edit]

Where does the value given in the article come from? I see only 70-80mln km2 in the sources. Wizardist (talk) 11:46, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Ahh there's the crunch - some deny the ocean exists (see above and archive) - and even more so claim 60 degrees south is where it starts - but we lucky victims in Australia are led to believe it starts at our southern shores - take your pick and the evil I own the truth eds will descend here like hovering hawks to give you the IHO decisions (and non decisions) and other claimed facts as to whether it exists and why and how - and it all starts again, sigh SatuSuro 13:20, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps it would be best to entirely omit the area. Bazonka (talk) 13:53, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Good idea - or otherwise the 60 degree south version, Australian designation, and the de facto 'earlier version' which never seemed to really exist are 3 different measurable quantities SatuSuro 13:58, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I think mentioning three area measurements (one for each definition: 60th, 55th and Australian) would be a good practice if there are relevant data in the reliable sources. Wizardist (talk) 15:08, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
The CIA favour the 20 x 106 km2 value, and use the 60°S line to delineate the ocean. But I'd have thought we could find reliable sources for other values/definitions. Actually, as an oceanographer, I'd have thought that I could! I may have to poke around a bit. But, speaking professionally, the 60°S boundary seems a rather miserly definition of the Southern Ocean. This bisects the ACC flow through Drake Passage just for starters — that can't be right!  :-) I'll see what I can trawl. --PLUMBAGO 15:27, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, I have removed the ill-defined area from the article. I would be more than happy to see areas for the different definitions included, but until these have been collated I think we're best without anything. Bazonka (talk) 18:43, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

There's no Southern Ocean[edit]

Current (Third) edition of Limits of Oceans and Seas (S-23)) - [6], [7], Text: «…the Antarctic or Southern Ocean has been omitted, and the southern limits of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans have been extended to the Antarctic Continent.» See also the map [8]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Auanika (talkcontribs) 22:32, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

This is all adequately covered in the article already. Bazonka (talk) 07:38, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Of course there is no such thing in reality but the term is used. We can still have an article on it. We've got a Unicorn article. JIMp talk·cont 02:19, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

No land-based definition?[edit]

Most oceans, both in the IHO usage and others, are bounded by coasts or by lines (great circles, assumedly) between points on land. Has there never been an attempt to define the Southern Ocean similarly, for instance by the polygon of lines connecting the southernmost points in South America, Africa, Western Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand? This would make the Australians happy, I guess! Would the problem be that it would include too much of (what is now) the Indian Ocean to be of truly polar character? (The area we're talking about would be the Southern Indian Ocean Islands tundra. And South Georgia would be right on the border.) If anyone (the Australians?) has made such attempts, it could be covered. Otherwise, I'll have to go on wondering why no such attempts have been made. (talk) 16:12, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

The Australians defined their part of the ocean using their coastline, but I don't think they defined the entire ocean in this way. Bazonka (talk) 19:15, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Map of subdivisions needed[edit]

South Australia was (contra-convention) delineated by the Ocean[edit]

I think this is WP:OR trivia:

In 1834, the colony of South Australia was empowered by an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, becoming the only colony in the world to have a coastal border exclusively delineated by the Southern Ocean. Antarctica, by comparison, has never been colonized and its coast delineates the southern boundary of the Southern Ocean (not the other way around).
My deletion was reverted by @Cruickshanks: with edit summary "the deletion misses the point that South Australia was (contra-convention) delineated by the Ocean". I'm not sure I understand the point. It seems to be that (1) the "convention" is for a sea to be delineated by its surrounding land and (2) the exception is for the land to be delineated by its surrounding sea. I find that idea absurd: any coastline delineates the border of both the land and the sea simultaneously. Perhaps I have missed the point. jnestorius(talk) 10:38, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Jnestorius, I think that significant part of the problem that has arisen here is that the article was greatly modified by others in good faith on 31 July 2015, and as an unintended consequence the context has inadvertently been lost/changed. Previously, the article chronologically set out the evolution and history of the name/term "Southern Ocean" until its pinnacle leading up to 1937. Then the article described how the definition of the "Southern Ocean" shrank backwards from 1937 onwards. Now the article starts in 1834, and the piece that caused you consternation (and which I had poorly word-smithed previously) was being read out of sequence with an entirely different implied primary context. I have only today fathomed that the article was significantly changed on 31 July.
In the article I have now provided additional context (i.e. relating to the chronology of the definition) to try to meld into the recently changed article chronology, and also identify by extra examples that it was not original research (i.e. the colony of South Australia was/is the only colony solely delineated by the Southern Ocean - nowhere else in the land masses that have touched the Southern Ocean was this the case). The 1834 British Act is therefore a (known) milestone in the legal definition of the term. Unfortunately, 1834 is also a somewhat arbitrary place to commence the body of the Southern Ocean article, albeit it does show evidence of the first known legal use of the term (if Admiralty charts don't count or its use by world-renowned explorers like Cook). Of course, another wiki author will hopefully one day eventually provide another legal-use reference that pre-dates 1834.
The important feature of the South Australia Colonisation Act 1834 is that South Australia was certainly legally delineated by the Southern Ocean as here: Transcript of the South Australia Act, 1834. IHO defines oceans as (commonly) being delineated by land-masses or by adjacent oceans (or seas) along defined lines. This also involves the (2002) change relating to the issue of whether seas are inside of oceans, or seas lie between land-masses and oceans as being changed by the IHO in the not yet ratified 2002 edition (not ratified due to regional squabbles over the names of local seas - like Sea of Japan vs Sea of Korea). You might argue that Japan is legally delineated/defined by the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean (I am actually curious to know how the land masses of Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Falklands/Malvinas or the United Kingdom are legally defined, if at all). I suggest that to posit that by convention colonies, countries, islands, continents are legally or otherwise defined by oceans bordering them would be 'original research', particularly when it is often seas or straits that form the coastal borders of colonies and countries (such as Van Diemen's Land and Japan), whereas there is definitely a convention that oceans are defined (e.g. by IHO) by land masses and other oceans (or seas for a period prior to 2002). Nevertheless, that is not the primary context relating to the use of the Southern Ocean in the 1834 Act or the article. The primary context is that the reverse delineation of South Australia using the Southern Ocean identifies an early and documented point in time when the Southern Ocean was used in a legal context. Cruickshanks (talk) 06:56, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
An 1834 act of Parliament implies that the water south of South Australia is part of the "Southern Ocean". That one sentence is worth including. Everything else is WP:SYN and/or trivia. jnestorius(talk) 23:13, 1 November 2015 (UTC)