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Antarctica and the southern portions of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. The waters around Antarctica are sometimes called the Southern Ocean; however, the term Antarctic Ocean is sometimes also used, inappropriately. Much of the area is characterized by subpolar conditions, and ice shelves and sea ice extend well beyond the borders of the continent. Water cooled by the coastal ice masses of the Antarctic continent sinks and flows northward along the ocean bottom and is replaced at the surface by warmer water flowing south from the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. The meeting point of these currents is the Antarctic Convergence, an area rich in phytoplankton and krill, which are important to various species of fish as well as to penguins and seabirds.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Antarctic regions, visit Britannica.com.
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