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Encyclopedia > Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream is orange and yellow in this representation of water temperatures of the Atlantic. Source: NASA.
The Gulf Stream is orange and yellow in this representation of water temperatures of the Atlantic. Source: NASA.

The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, exits through the Strait of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. At about 30°W, 40°N, it splits in two, with the northern stream crossing to northern Europe and the southern stream recirculating off West Africa. The Gulf Stream influences the climate of the east coast of North America from Florida to Newfoundland, and the west coast of Europe. It is part of the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. Description: False-color image of the temperature of the Gulf Stream Caption: In this false-color Terra MODIS image, the Gulf Stream can be seen flowing to the northeast off of the United State’s eastern seaboard. ... Description: False-color image of the temperature of the Gulf Stream Caption: In this false-color Terra MODIS image, the Gulf Stream can be seen flowing to the northeast off of the United State’s eastern seaboard. ... For other uses, see NASA (disambiguation). ... Schematic of the worlds ocean currents. ... Atlantic and North Atlantic redirect here. ... Ocean currents (1911) Ocean currents (1943) An ocean current is any more or less continuous, directed movement of ocean water that flows in one of the Earths oceans. ... Gulf of Mexico in 3D perspective. ... The Straits of Florida, Florida Straits, or Florida Strait is a strait located south-southeast of the North American mainland, generally accepted to be between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and between the Florida Keys and Cuba. ... This article is about the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...  Western Africa (UN subregion)  Maghreb[1] West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. ... A gyre is any manner of swirling vortex. ...

Contents

The Gulf Stream proper and the North Atlantic Drift

European discovery of the Gulf Stream dates to the 1513 expedition of Juan Ponce de León, after which it became widely used by Spanish ships sailing from the Caribbean to Spain.[1] In 1786 Benjamin Franklin studied and mapped the current in detail.[2] The Gulf Stream proper is a western-intensified current, largely driven by wind stress.[3] The North Atlantic Drift, in contrast, is largely thermohaline circulation driven. By carrying warm water northeast across the Atlantic, it makes Western Europe (and especially Northern Europe) warmer than they otherwise would be. However, the extent of its contribution to the actual temperature differential between North America and Europe is a matter of dispute.[4] Juan Ponce de León (c. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Western intensification is the intensification of the western arm of an oceanic current, particularly a large gyre in an ocean basin, due to the Coriolis effect, and the variation of Coriolis force with latitude (the beta effect). ... Schematic of the worlds ocean currents. ... A simplified summary of the path of the Thermohaline Circulation. ... A current understanding of Western Europe. ... Northern Europe Northern Europe is the northern part of the European continent. ...


Normal behavior of the Gulf Stream

A river of sea water, called the Atlantic North Equatorial Current, flows westward off the coast of northern Africa. When this current interacts with the northeastern coast of South America, the current forks into two branches. One passes into the Caribbean Sea, while a second, the Antilles Current, flows north and east of the West Indies. These two branches rejoin north of the Straits of Florida, as shown on the accompanying map. The North Equatorial Current is a significant Pacific and Atlantic Ocean current that flows east-to-west between the equator and 10° north. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... Map of Central America and the Caribbean The Caribbean Sea (pronounced or ) is a tropical sea in the Western Hemisphere, part of the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Gulf of Mexico. ... West Indies redirects here. ... The Straits of Florida, Florida Straits, or Florida Strait is a strait located south-southeast of the North American mainland, generally accepted to be between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and between the Florida Keys and Cuba. ...


Consequently, the resulting Gulf Stream is a strong ocean current, transporting about 1.4 petawatts of heat, equivalent to 100 times the world energy demand.[5] It transports water at a rate of 30 million cubic meters per second (30 sverdrups) through the Florida Straits. After it passes Cape Hatteras, this rate increases to 80 million cubic meters per second. The volume of the Gulf Stream dwarfs all rivers that empty into the Atlantic combined, which barely total 0.6 million cubic meters per second. It is weaker, however, than the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. This page lists examples of the power in watts produced by various different sources of energy. ... The sverdrup, named in honour of the pioneering oceanographers Harald and Otto Sverdrup, is an unit of measure of volume transport. ... An aerial view of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse prior to its 1999 relocation. ... The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarctica. ...


Typically, the Gulf Stream is 80–150 km wide and 800–1200 m deep. The current velocity is fastest near the surface, with the maximum speed typically about 2.5 m/s[6] (approx. 4.9 knots). A knot is a unit of speed abbreviated kt or kn. ...


As it travels north, the warm water transported by the Gulf Stream undergoes evaporative cooling and brine exclusion. The cooling is wind driven: wind moving over the water cools it and also causes evaporation, leaving a saltier brine. In this process, the water increases in salinity and density, and decreases in temperature. These two processes produce water that is denser and colder (or, more exactly, water that is still liquid at a lower temperature). In the North Atlantic Ocean, the water becomes so dense that it begins to sink down through less salty and less dense water. (The convective action is not unlike that of a lava lamp.) This downdraft of heavy, cold and dense water becomes a part of the North Atlantic Deep Water, a southgoing stream. Look up North in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ... For the sports equipment manufacturer, see Brine, Corp. ... Vaporization redirects here. ... Annual mean sea surface salinity for the World Ocean. ... Convection in the most general terms refers to the movement of currents within fluids (i. ... A lava lamp is a novelty item typically used for decoration rather than illumination. ... North Atlantic Deep Water The North Atlantic Deep Water is a water mass, buit in the Atlantic Ocean. ...

Schematic of the world's ocean currents. Click for larger image.

Localized effects

North America

The Gulf Stream is influential on the climate of the east coast of Florida, especially southeast Florida(where it is often just a mile or two off the coast), helping to keep temperatures warmer than in the rest of the southeastern United States during the winter.[citation needed] During the summer, the effect is opposite but smaller.[citation needed] The Gulf Stream makes the climate of offshore islands of Massachusetts, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket milder than that of Massachusetts Bay, which is isolated from Gulf Stream effects by Cape Cod. This article is about the U.S. State of Florida. ... Map of Marthas Vineyard. ... Nantucket is an island south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, formed of glacial moraine. ... This article is about the area of Massachusetts known as Cape Cod. For other uses, see Cape Cod (disambiguation). ...


Britain and Ireland

The North Atlantic Current of the Gulf Stream, along with similar warm air currents, helps keep Ireland and the western coast of Great Britain a couple of degrees warmer than the east. However the difference is most dramatic in the western coastal islands of Scotland. Plockton, just east of the Isle of Skye, on the west coast of Scotland, has a mild enough climate to support palm-like cabbage trees even though it is a degree further north than Moscow. Schematic of the worlds ocean currents. ... This article is about the country. ... Harbour Street, the main street in Plockton Plockton ( Am Ploc/Ploc Loch Aillse in Gaelic ) is a village in the Highlands of Scotland, with a population of 378 [1]. It is a picturesque settlement on the shores of Loch Carron. ... Map of the Hebrides. ... Binomial name Cordyline australis (Forst. ... For other uses, see Moscow (disambiguation). ...


Norway

The most spectacular effect of the Gulf Stream and the strong westerly winds (driven by the warm water of the gulf stream) on Europe occurs along the Norwegian coast.[citation needed] Northern parts of Norway lies close to the Arctic zone, most of which is covered with ice and snow in winter. But almost all of Norway's coast--even that part in the Arctic--remains free of ice and snow throughout the winter.[citation needed] For the ships, see USS Arctic, SS Arctic, MV Arctic The red line indicates the 10°C isotherm in July, sometimes used to define the Arctic region border Artificially coloured topographical map of the Arctic region The Arctic is the region around the Earths North Pole, opposite the Antarctic...


The effect of global warming

There is some speculation that global warming could decrease or shutdown thermohaline circulation and therefore reduce the North Atlantic Drift. The timescale that this might happen in is unclear; estimates range from a few decades to a few hundred years[1]. This could trigger localised cooling in the North Atlantic and lead to cooling (or lesser warming) in that region, particularly affecting areas that are warmed by the North Atlantic Drift, such as Scandinavia and Great Britain.[7] The chances of this occurring are unclear.[8] Shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline circulation is a possible effect of global warming. ... Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earths near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. ... For other uses, see Scandinavia (disambiguation). ...


At present, most available data show that Gulf Stream flow was stable over the past 40 years.[9] One report, based on a snapshot survey, suggested that the deep return flow has weakened[10] by 30% since 1957, which would imply a weakening in the North Atlantic Deep Water production.[11] However, this should have caused a temperature drop of several degrees in northwest Europe, but instead temperatures have tended to increase. It was later discovered, using the first cross-Atlantic array of moored current meters, that variations within one year were just as large.[12] It has been reported by several news media[13][14] in late 2006 that in november 2004 the gulf stream stopped entirely for ten days. At least part of the apparent weakening of the Gulf Stream may be cyclical and connected to recent positive values of North Atlantic Oscillation.[15] Recent research[16] shows that Gulf Stream volume transport during the Little Ice Age was ten percent weaker than today’s, implying that diminished oceanic heat transport may have contributed to the 16th- to the mid-19th-century cooling in the North Atlantic. North Atlantic Deep Water The North Atlantic Deep Water is a water mass, buit in the Atlantic Ocean. ... The North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) is a complex climatic phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean (especially associated with fluctuations of climate between Iceland and the Azores). ... The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling occurring after a warmer era known as the Medieval climate optimum. ...


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earths near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. ... Ocean currents (1911) Ocean currents (1943) An ocean current is any more or less continuous, directed movement of ocean water that flows in one of the Earths oceans. ... Thermohaline circulation Oceanographic frontal systems on the southern hemisphere Oceanography (from the greek words Ωκεανός meaning Ocean and γράφω meaning to write), also called oceanology or marine science, is the branch of Earth Sciences that studies the Earths oceans and seas. ... Schematic of the worlds ocean currents. ... The Draupner wave, a single giant wave measured on New Years Day 1995, finally confirmed the existence of freak waves, which had previously been considered near-mythical Rogue waves, also known as freak waves, or extreme waves, are relatively large and spontaneous ocean surface waves which are a threat... A western boundary current is a warm, deep, narrow, and fast flowing current that occurs on the west side of an ocean basin. ... For other uses, see jet stream (disambiguation). ...

References

Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe (2006). Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration. W.W. Norton & Company, p. 194. ISBN 0-393-06259-7. 
  2. ^ 1785: Benjamin Franklin's Sundry Maritime Observations, NOAA Ocean Explorer
  3. ^ Wunsch, Carl (November 8, 2002). "What Is the Thermohaline Circulation?". Science 298 (5596): 1179–1181. doi:10.1126/science.1079329.  (see also Rahmstorf.)
  4. ^ Seager, Richard (July–August, 2006). "The Source of Europe's Mild Climate". American Scientist Online. Retrieved on 2007-08-02. 
  5. ^ Leake, Jonathan. "Scientists probing a dying current bring worst climate fears to the surface", The Australian, December 5, 2005.  (Web archive)
  6. ^ Phillips, Pamela. The Gulf Stream. USNA/Johns Hopkins. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  7. ^ Rahmstorf, Stefan (2006). The Thermohaline Ocean Circulation (PDF). Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Encyclopedia of Quaternary Sciences. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  8. ^ Stocker, T. F. (1999). "Abrupt climate changes: from the past to the future – a review" (PDF). International Journal of Earth Sciences 88: 365–374. Retrieved on 2007-08-02. 
  9. ^ Schmidt, Gavin; Mann, Michael. "Decrease in Atlantic circulation?", RealClimate, November 30, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-08-02. 
  10. ^ Bryden, Harry L.; Longworth, Hannah R. and Cunningham, Stuart A. (2005). "Slowing of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation at 25°N". Nature 438: 655–657. doi:10.1038/nature04385. 
  11. ^ Black, Richard. "Ocean changes 'will cool Europe'", BBC News, November 30, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-08-02. 
  12. ^ Kerr, Richard A. (November 17, 2006). "False Alarm: Atlantic Conveyor Belt Hasn't Slowed Down After All". Science 314 (5802): 1064. 
  13. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/oct/27/science.climatechange
  14. ^ http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2005/12/101555_comment.php
  15. ^ Baringer, Molly O'Neil; Larsen, Jimmy C. (2001). "Sixteen years of Florida Current transport at 27° N". Geophysical Research Letters 28 (16): 3179–3182. 
  16. ^ Lund, David C.; Lynch-Stieglit, Jean and Curry, William B. (2006). "Gulf Stream density structure and transport during the past millennium". Nature 444: 601–604. 

A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • Western Boundary Currents - Description of the gulf stream as a western boundary current
A gyre is any manner of swirling vortex. ... The currents of the North Pacific Gyre The North Pacific Gyre (also known as North Pacific Subtropical Gyre) is a clockwise-swirling vortex of ocean currents comprising most of the northern Pacific Ocean. ... The North Equatorial Current is a significant Pacific and Atlantic Ocean current that flows east-to-west between the equator and 10° north. ... The Kuroshio Current is an ocean current found in the western Pacific Ocean off the east coast of Taiwan and flowing northeastward past Japan, where it merges with the easterly drift of the North Pacific Current. ... The North Pacific Current The North Pacific Current (sometimes referred to as the North Pacific Drift) is a slow warm water current that flows west-to-east between 40 and 50 degrees north in the Pacific Ocean. ... The California Current is a Pacific Ocean current that moves south along the western coast of North America, beginning off southern British Columbia, and ending off southern Baja California. ... The South Equatorial Current is a significant Pacific Ocean current that flows east-to-west between the equator and 10 degrees south. ... East Australian Current on August 17, 2005 The East Australian Current (EAC) flows north-to-south along the east coast of Australia. ... The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarctica. ... ... The Tasman Outflow is the most recently discovered of the worlds major ocean currents. ... For the novel by Jean Rhys, see Wide Sargasso Sea. ... The North Equatorial Current is a significant Pacific and Atlantic Ocean current that flows east-to-west between the equator and 10° north. ... Schematic of the worlds ocean currents. ... The Canary Current branches south from the North Atlantic Current and flows toward the South West about as far as Senegal where it turns West. ... The South Equatorial Current is a significant Pacific Ocean current that flows east-to-west between the equator and 10 degrees south. ... The Brazil Current is a warm water current that flows southward along the Brazilian south coast to the mouth of the River Plate. ... The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarctica. ... The frigid waters of the north-flowing Benguela current move from the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica along the west coast of Africa as far as Angola. ... The South Equatorial Current is a significant Pacific Ocean current that flows east-to-west between the equator and 10 degrees south. ... The Agulhas Current is the Western Boundary Current of the South-West Indian Ocean and is part of the westward-flowing South Equatorial Current. ... The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarctica. ... The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarctica. ... Weddell Gyre is such water movement in Southern Ocean, which is not part of the west wind drift. ... The Tasman Outflow is the most recently discovered of the worlds major ocean currents. ... Ocean currents (1911) Ocean currents (1943) An ocean current is any more or less continuous, directed movement of ocean water that flows in one of the Earths oceans. ... In the inertial frame of reference (upper part of the picture), the black object moves in a straight line. ... Closely related to the Ekman spiral, where winds blowing up and down coastal regions cause a seaward flow of surface water (perpendicular to the flow of wind), which creates the upwelling of deep nutrient rich sea water. ... A simplified summary of the path of the Thermohaline Circulation. ... Atmospheric circulation is the large-scale movement of air, and the means (together with the ocean circulation, which is smaller [1]) by which heat is distributed on the surface of the Earth. ... A turtle is trapped in a ghost net, an abandoned fishing net Marine debris usually applies to floating waste such as bottles, cans, styrofoam, cruise ship waste, offshore oil and gas exploration and production facilities pollution, and fishing paraphanalia from professional and recreational boaters. ... The North Pacific Gyre is one of five major oceanic gyres The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of marine debris in the North Pacific Gyre, and is also known as the Plastic soup, the Eastern Garbage Patch, and the Pacific Trash Vortex. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Gulf Stream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1070 words)
The Gulf Stream is orange and yellow in this representation of water temperatures of the Atlantic.
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, exits through the Strait of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
The Gulf Stream influences the climate of the east coast of North America from Florida to Newfoundland, and the west coast of Europe.
Gulf stream (365 words)
The Gulf Stream is a powerful warm, swift Atlantic ocean current that flows along the coast of the Eastern United States and makes Ireland, Great Britain, and the Scandinavian countries warmer than they would be otherwise.
This increases the salinity of the water in the stream, and in the North Atlantic Ocean the water is so cold and heavy with salt that it begins to sink.
The effect of the Gulf stream is sufficient to cause certain parts of the west of Britain and Ireland to be an average of several degrees warmer than most other parts of those countries.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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