With the world covered with water and the world so dominated by oceans (Antarctic or Southern, Arctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific), do we have one ocean or different oceans?

Prior to 2000, the world’s geographers defined only four oceans (Arctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific), but in 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization announced the fifth and newest ocean in the area surrounding Antarctica in its Limits of Oceans and Seas (S-23).

The Southern Ocean, created from the southern portions of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, is a separate eco-system about double the size of the United States. It ranges in water temperature between -2°C and 10°C (28-50°F) where the world’s largest ocean current, the eastward-moving Antarctic Circumpolar Current, exists.

But since the oceans are all connected, does the Earth have five oceans or just one big one?

As open water swimmers travel around the world, dipping their toes in the world’s ocean(s), certain similarities start to become apparent.

The structures lining the beaches and the physical backdrop are hints of déjà vu. Here are just a few examples of beaches that seem to have common DNA:

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Waikiki Beach on Oahu in Honolulu, Hawaii (shown above) and La Concha Beach in San Sebastián, Spain and Atami Sun Beach in Shizuoka, Japan and Acapulco Bay in Mexico.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source