How Can One Ocean Current Affect the Whole North Atlantic?
ES2403  A Warm River in the Atlantic Ocean

The Gulf Stream is one of the most prominent surface currents in the world's oceans. This huge river in the ocean is about 50 miles wide and travels at about 5 miles per hour, relatively fast for an ocean current.

The Gulf Stream carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico northward along the eastern coast of the United States and across the Atlantic. It joins another current—the North Atlantic Drift—and travels as far as Ireland and Great Britain. As you'll see in this investigation, the Gulf Stream affects the climate of coastal northern Europe and the fishing stocks of the Atlantic.

This image of sea surface temperatures (measured in degrees Celsius) reveals the location of the warm Gulf Stream. The dark orange/red band that extends from the southeast coast of the U.S. east into the Atlantic is the Gulf Stream.

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