Currents of the Atlantic Ocean

Currents of the North Atlantic Ocean

1. North Equatorial Current : It flows from the coast of Africa in the east to the West Indies in the west parallel to the equator under the influence of the trade winds.

2. Antilles Current : The South Equatorial current bifurcates into two branches near Cape-de-Sao Roque (Brazil). Its northern branch reinforces the North Equatorial Current. Part of the combined current enters the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, while the remainder passes along the eastern side of the West Indies as the Antilles Current.

3. Florida Current : The branch entering the Gulf of Mexico is reinforced by a great bulk of warm ocean water driven by the trade winds and by the water brought by the Mississippi river. As a result, the water level in the Gulf rises as compared to that of the Atlantic Ocean. is difference in water level is compensated for by the current flowing out through the Strait of Florida, the combined current moves along the south-eastern coast of the United States and is known as the Florida Current upto the Cape-Hatteras.

4. Gulf Stream : Beyond the Cape Hatteras upto the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, it is known as the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream receives plenty of warm water from the Gulf of Mexico and carries it to cold areas. In the beginning, it flows along the east coast of America from a south-west to north-east direction. Near Halifax, it comes under the influence of westerlies and reaches the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Gulf Stream is well-defined in the deep waters.

5. North Atlantic Drift : From the Grand Banks, the Gulf Stream flows eastward across the Atlantic under the influence of the prevailing westerly winds. Here it is known as North Atlantic Drift.

6. Norwegian Current : The North Atlantic Drift is divided into two branches when it reaches the European Coast. The northern branch reaches the British Isles from where it flows along the coast of Norway as the Norwegian current and enters the Arctic Ocean.

7. Canaries Current : The second branch of the North Atlantic Drift takes a southerly turn and flows between Spain and Azores as the cold Canaries Current. This current finally joins the North Equatorial Current completing the circuit in the North Atlantic. Some of the above-mentioned currents carry large quantities of water to the Arctic Ocean. In order to maintain the balance, two currents flow from the Arctic Ocean towards the south. They are cold currents because they originate in the polar areas.

8. East Greenland Current : This current was from north to south along the eastern coast of Greenland.

9. Labrador Current : is current starts from the Ban Bay and Davis Strait and ws along the coast of Labrador. It brings a large number of icebergs from the BaBay. The East Greenland Current joins it at the southern tip of Greenland. The joint current moves further southwards and joins with the Gulf Stream. The conuence of warm Gulf Stream and cold L abrador current produces thick fog near Newfoundland.

10. Sargasso Sea : It is the calm sea lying within the circuit of North Atlantic Current, Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Driand Canaries Currents. It is full of seaweeds known as sargassum in the Portuguese language. Hence, it is known as Sargasso Sea. It spreads over a vast area of about 11,000 sq. km.

Currents of the South Atlantic Ocean

1. South Equatorial Current : It lies in the south of equator and ws almost parallel to it from east to west.

2. Brazil Current : The South Atlantic current splits into two branches near Cape-de-Sa Roque (Brazil). The northern branch joins the North Equatorial current, whereas the southern branch turns southwards and ws along the South American coast as the Brazil Current.

3. South Atlantic Current : The Brazil current swings eastward at about latitude 35°S to join the West-wind Drift wing from west to east.

4. Benguela Current : Near the Cape of Good Hope, a branch of the South Atlantic current was northward along the west coast of South Africa. It is a cold current and is known as the Benguela Current. It usually joins the south Equatorial Current, thus completing the circuit.

5. Falkland Current : Another cold current, known as the Falkland Current, flows along the south-eastern coast of South America from south to north. This brings huge icebergs from the Antarctic region and creates thick fog when it joins the warm water.


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