Chapter 6. Home planet

Earth got another ocean in spring 2000. In case you are wondering how you missed the cataclysmic planetary event, it was not quite that dramatic. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) decided to demarcate the Southern Ocean, the world’s fifth ocean, in addition to the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. The Southern Ocean extends from 60° south latitude to the coast of Antarctica.

Just as new scientific data led pesky astronomers to demote Pluto to dwarf planet status, new data led the IHO to create the Southern Ocean. Recent interest in global climate change has stimulated research on ocean circulation. One of the findings is that a huge, ...

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