There are 5 major oceans in the world and the Southern Ocean is one of the smallest. The only ocean smaller than the Southern Ocean is the Arctic Ocean, which is near the North Pole.

The Southern Ocean is on the opposite side of the Arctic Ocean, in the South Pole. It completely surrounds Antarctica. It is the only ocean that goes all the way around the globe. 

Post Image

It is sometimes called the Antarctic Ocean.

The Southern Ocean is one of the coldest oceans on Earth. It has lots of icebergs in winter and winds can be very strong causing huge waves. This makes it very difficult for ships to travel on the Southern Ocean all year round.

Size: the Southern Ocean covers approximately 4% of the Earth’s surface. It measures 20,330,000 square kilometres (7,850,000 square miles).

Temperature: temperatures vary from -2º to 10ºC.

Depth: the average depth is about 16,000 feet (5,000 m).


Who lives in the Southern Ocean?

The Southern Ocean may be cold but thousands of animals live there. The waters are filled with phytoplankton and krill (tiny shrimp-like creatures), which many animals such as whales, penguins, and seals consume. The world’s largest penguin, the emperor penguin, lives in the Southern Ocean.

Post Image

The Southern Ocean doesn’t have many species of fish, but snailfish, eelpout and cod icefish are all popular. Some species of icefish have antifreeze proteins in their blood to stop them from freezing in the icy water.


Did you know?

  • More than 50,000 tourists travel to the Southern Ocean every year.
  • The deepest part of the Southern Ocean is the southern end of the South Sandwich Trench. It’s 23,737 feet deep.