The Southern Ocean is the body of water that surrounds the continent of Antarctica. The Southern Ocean covers about 8.5 million square miles (22 million square kilometers). It is the world’s fourth largest ocean, ranking behind the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans.
Some scientists say that these waters do not make up an ocean. They say these waters are part of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Some people call these waters the Antarctic <<ant AHRK tihk>> Ocean.
The surface of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica freezes in winter. The ocean’s temperature is almost always very cold, below freezing. The sheets of ice break up into chunks, called pack ice, in summer. Flat-topped icebergs, from 500 to 1,000 feet (150 to 300 meters) thick, drift north of the pack ice.
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