Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean

Boundary currents: the Gulf Stream and the Kuroshio

The Gulf Stream, which flows from the Caribbean to the Grand Bank off Newfoundland, is one of the first currents to have been studied scientifically, due to its importance for transatlantic shipping. Its temperature drops from 25° to 2°C during its course as it warms the ocean and releases heat and water vapour into the atmosphere. Like the Kuroshio Current, its counterpart in the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf Stream is a warm, western boundary current formed by easterly winds. It is very turbulent and exhibits sharp variations in direction, speed and temperature. The Agulhas and Brazil Currents in the Southern Hemisphere are similar.


The Gulf Stream was first charted in 1777 to help ships crossing the Atlantic. (Credits Noaa).
Gulf Stream as seen by sea surface temperature satellites (Credits Nasa).

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