Southern Ocean

1 min read
Southern Ocean Blog Image


The Southern Ocean is renowned for having the cleanest air on Earth. But the precise reasons why have remained mysteries until now.

About Southern Ocean:

  • It is also known as the Antarctic Ocean which is one of the five great ocean basins on Earth.
  • It was formed around 34 million years ago when Antarctica and South America drifted apart, creating the Drake Passage (located between the Antarctic Peninsula’s tip and South America). 
  • It is made up of the portions of the world ocean south of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans and their tributary seas surrounding Antarctica below 60° S.
  • It is known for its strong winds, intense storms, dramatic seasonal changes and cold temperatures.
  • It is dominated by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) which is the longest, strongest, deepest-reaching current on earth.
  • The ACC circulates clockwise around the continent, carrying more water around the globe than any other current.
  • Biodiversity: The Ocean supports a variety of plants and animals, with most animals relying on the rich phytoplankton from the Antarctic Convergence. Marine life includes whales, penguins, orcas, and seals.

Q1: What are Ocean currents?

These are the continuous, predictable, directional movement of seawater driven by gravity, wind (Coriolis Effect), and water density. Ocean water moves in two directions: horizontally and vertically. Horizontal movements are referred to as currents, while vertical changes are called upwellings or downwellings.

Source: The Southern Ocean has the earth’s cleanest air — scientists finally know why