Monday, August 3, 2015

Southern Ocean

Isn't that pretty? A descendant of the albatross killed by Coleridge's ancient mariner

Also known as the Austral Ocean, but I remain unconvinced that there is any such thing as a Southern Ocean in God's original blueprint for intelligent design, let alone the happenstance movements of tectonic plates when the earth cooled, the land and the seas separated, and oceans and continents formed. The southern portion of the Pacific and the southern portion of the Atlantic I can handle, but what exactly constitutes a Southern Ocean? 

The answer to that question does not in fact lie in geography, nor in plate tectonics, but where everything ultimately ends up, in the desire of nations to become powerful and own the whole wide world with all its resources. And as the Americans are still, if only just, the major power in that world, and as the CIA insists that there is a Southern Ocean, then there is definitely a Southern Ocean, and I am ready to fight and die to keep it American and free.

To save you the trouble of going to the CIA World FactBook and looking it up for yourself, here is the verbatim:

"A large body of recent oceanographic research has shown that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarctica, plays a crucial role in global ocean circulation. The region where the cold waters of the ACC meet and mingle with the warmer waters of the north defines a distinct border - the Antarctic Convergence - which fluctuates with the seasons, but which encompasses a discrete body of water and a unique ecologic region. The Convergence concentrates nutrients, which promotes marine plant life, and which, in turn, allows for a greater abundance of animal life. In 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization delimited the waters within the Convergence as a fifth world ocean - the Southern Ocean - by combining the southern portions of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific Ocean. The Southern Ocean extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60 degrees south latitude, which coincides with the Antarctic Treaty Limit and which approximates the extent of the Antarctic Convergence. As such, the Southern Ocean is now the fourth largest of the world's five oceans (after the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean, but larger than the Arctic Ocean). It should be noted that inclusion of the Southern Ocean does not imply recognition of this feature as one of the world's primary oceans by the US Government."

And if you can make head or tail of that, you are, as Rudyard Kipling once famously put it, speaking of the then world-owning British Empire, "you're a better man than I am Gunga Din".

Marks for: I have no idea. Ask the CIA.

Marks against: None if it's American or British; lots if it isn't; and even more if those darned Ruskies or Chinese get their hands on it.

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