Many of us thought the world had four oceans - the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. That's what we were taught in school. However, a search on the Internet will show that there is also a "Southern Ocean" around the South Pole and Antarctica. The National Geographic Society has now officially accepted that this body of water around Antarctica is a real ocean. Geography teachers will now have to teach their students that the world has five oceans. Alex Tait, a geographer and cartographer at National Geographic, said: "We think it's really important from an educational [viewpoint], as well as from a map-labelling standpoint, to bring attention to the Southern Ocean as a fifth ocean."
National Geographic said its recognition of the world having a fifth ocean would have an impact on how children see the world. Mr Tait said: "Students learn information about the...world through what oceans they're studying. If you don't include the Southern Ocean, then they don't learn...how important it is." He said that recognising the Southern Ocean would help students understand more about climate change. He wrote: "Antarctica forms a distinct ecological region defined by ocean currents and temperatures." National Geographic said: "The Southern Ocean [has] unique and fragile marine ecosystems that are home to wonderful marine life such as whales, penguins and seals."