Diatoms are the major marine primary producers on the global scale and, recently, several methods have been developed to retrieve their abundance or dominance from satellite remote sensing data. In this work, we highlight the importance of the Southern Ocean (SO) in developing a global algorithm for diatom using an Abundance Based Approach (ABA). A large global in situ data set of phytoplankton pigments was compiled, particularly with more samples collected in the SO. We revised the ABA to take account of the information on the penetration depth (Zpd) and to improve the relationship between diatoms and total chlorophyll-a (TChla). The results showed that there is a distinct relationship between diatoms and TChla in the SO, and a new global model (ABAZpd) improved the estimation of diatoms abundance by 28% in the SO compared with the original ABA model. In addition, we developed a regional model for the SO which further improved the retrieval of diatoms by 17% compared with the global ABAZpd model. As a result, we found that diatom may be more abundant in the SO than previously thought. Linear trend analysis of diatom abundance using the regional model for the SO showed that there are statistically significant trends, both increasing and decreasing, in diatom abundance over the past eleven years in the region.