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Antarctic Ocean, Austral Ocean, Southern Ocean

National Geographic Society does not recognize these place-names, but they are sometimes used in the Southern Hemisphere and by scientists to designate those parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans surrounding Antarctica.

Though the waters surrounding Antarctica are sometimes called the Antarctic Ocean or Southern Ocean, they are only the southernmost parts of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans.

The following explanation appears in the National Geographic Atlas of the World:

The Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans merge into icy waters around Antarctica. Some define this as an ocean—calling it the Antarctic Ocean, Austral Ocean, or Southern Ocean. While most accept four oceans, including the Arctic, there is no international agreement on the name and extent of a fifth ocean.


When using these terms in text, explain them:
            He sailed through what Australians call the Southern Ocean.
            the circumpolar sea, which some scientists call the Southern, or Antarctic, Ocean.

See also: Antarctic Convergence, Antarctic Polar Front, OCEANS.