June 8th is World Ocean Day

The summer days are knocking at the doors of the south Floridians. Summer brings hot summer days activities – cuddling up with a book at the pool or at the beach, swimming, surfing, fishing, etc.

On a hot summer day, there is nothing better than relax with family and friends at the beach of our beloved Atlantic Ocean’s shores. This brings us to the World Oceans Day celebration. By the way, how many oceans are on our planet? After searching the books, the research showed that there is no any easy answer. Some people think that there is not one world ocean with many names. If that were true you could stand in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and say ‘I am in the middle of the Pacific!’ There is a way of seeing all the oceans as part of one World Ocean, but oceanology scientists not ignore the fact that there are physical barriers and natural boundaries, which called the ‘borders of the oceans.’

Other people would argue that there is one global ocean with the vast body of water that covers approximately seventy-one percent of the Earth, and the one world ocean is geographically divided into distinct named regions. The boundaries between these regions have evolved over time for a variety of historical, cultural, geographical, and scientific reasons.

Topologically speaking, there may be only one ocean. The major oceans of the world form a connected set.

Historically, and when I went to school, we were told that there are four named oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic. However, most countries, including the United States, now recognize the Southern (Antarctic) as the fifth ocean. The Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian are known as the three major oceans.

The Southern Ocean is the ‘newest’ named ocean. It is recognized by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names as the body of water extending from the coast of Antarctica to the line of latitude at 60 degrees South. The boundaries of this ocean were proposed to the International Hydrographic Organization in 2000.

The Pacific Ocean is surrounded by what we call the Pacific Rim. The Atlantic has Europe, Africa and the eastern Americas as its borders. For us in Miami, Atlantic Ocean is beloved both on sunny beach days and at seasons of powerful hurricanes because Miamians are standing strong and take care of the nature’s problems. The Indian Ocean is separated from the Pacific by the Islands, which stretch from Asia to Australia. The oceans at the poles freeze and unfreeze on a yearly cycle. Marine biologists may take a sample of each ocean and would be able to tell us from which place that sample came from.

Water flows between the oceans, but not in an uninformed way. If it did, after billions of years, we would expect to find it normalized. Water flows following global patterns or Ocean currents, that circulate inside each ocean. Each Ocean have different animal life, salinity, temperatures, depths and even sea levels.

The funny part is that many people have a different idea of how many oceans are on the planet Earth. Some people say five, other say eight. Perhaps it’s more reasonable to say that there are five oceans: Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Southern (Antarctic) Ocean, and Arctic Ocean.

The Southern Ocean is the latest ocean added to the list and it is the most controversial. There is a good reason to call it ‘a different ocean,’ because nature controls the changing temperature at the pole; but at the same time scientists say it is tricky to find a logical barrier. Its existence has yet to be fully accepted at either the political or the geographical levels. If you want to learn more about the World’s oceans, the best thing is to ask our great faculty of the Natural Sciences. The Natural Sciences program at the FNU is strong and growing in popularity. In addition, you can visit the FNU Library, to dig-in the books for summer reading and learn the fascinated facts about our World’s oceans.

Ida Tomshinsky, MLS

FNU Library Director


305-821-3333, ext. 1161