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Important Ocean Currents Notes For UPSC Geography Section

SSBInsights Team
10 Nov 2017

Important ocean currents


Arctic Ocean


East Greenland Current originates in the Arctic Ocean and brings cold, low salinity,  water along the East Coast of Greenland. It is one of the five main currents which provides a major outflow of cold Arctic waters into the Atlantic Ocean.


Norwegian Current flows north-easterly along the Atlantic coast of Norway.


Atlantic Ocean


Angola current is a temporary ocean surface current. It is an extension of the Guinea Current, flowing near western Africa's coast.


The Antilles Current is a warm water current that flows northwesterly past the island chain that separates the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.


The frigid waters of the north-flowing Benguela current (cold water current) move from the western coast of South Africa and Namibia towards north and northwest and joins the southern equatorial current which is a warm current.


The Brazil Current is a warm water current that flows southward along the Brazilian south coast.


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 Caribbean Current is a warm water current that flows into the Caribbean Sea from the east along the coast of South America.


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. It influences the climate of the east coast of North America from Florida to Newfoundland, and the west coast of Europe.


The Guinea Current is a slow warm water current that flows easterly along the Guinea coast of West Africa.


The Labrador Current is a cold current in the North Atlantic Ocean which flows from the Arctic Ocean south along the coast of Labrador


The North Atlantic Current is a powerful warm ocean current that continues the Gulf Stream northeast. West of Ireland it splits in two. One branch (the Canary Current) goes south while the other continues north along the coast of northwestern Europe where it has a considerable warming influence on the climate.


The Portugal Current is a weak warm water current that flows south-easterly towards the coast of Portugal.


Pacific Ocean


The Alaska Current is a warm-water that meets the west coast of the North American continent.


The California Current moves south along the western coast of North America.


The Cromwell Current (also called Pacific Equatorial Undercurrent or just Equatorial Undercurrent) is an eastward-flowing subsurface current that extends the length of the equator in the Pacific Ocean.


The Kuroshio Current  is the world's second-largest (after the Gulf Stream) ocean current found off the east coast of Taiwan and flowing northeastward past Japan, where it merges with the easterly drift of the North Pacific Current. It transports warm, tropical water northward towards the polar region. It's also sometimes known as the Black Stream or also as Japan Current.


The North Equatorial Current is a significant Pacific and Atlantic Ocean current that flows east-to-west between the equator and 10° north.


The North Pacific Current (sometimes referred to as the North Pacific Drift) is a warm water current that flows west-to-east between 40 and 50 degrees north in the Pacific Ocean.


The Oyashio Current is a cold subarctic ocean current that flows south and circulates counterclockwise in the western North Pacific Ocean.


The Humboldt Current is a cold, ocean current that flows north along the west coast of South America from the southern tip of Chile to northern Peru. Also called the Peru Current.


The South Equatorial Current is a significant Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean current that flows east-to-west between the equator and 10 degrees south.


Indian Ocean


The Madagascar Current is an ocean current that flows northwards near the western coast of Madagascar, and it is the only current which sailors can employ on trips from southern Africa to India.


The Mozambique Current is, usually defined as warm surface waters flowing south between the African east coast in the vicinity of Mozambique.


Agulhas Current is a warm current of the southern Indian Ocean. It flows southward along the southeast coast of Mozambique and the coast of South Africa


Southern Ocean


The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is an ocean current that flows from west to east around Antarctica. An alternate name for the ACC is the West Wind Drift. The ACC is the dominant circulation feature of the Southern Ocean. It keeps warm ocean waters away from Antarctica, enabling that continent to maintain its huge ice cap.




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