Alaska current

From Glossary of Meteorology



Alaska Current

The eastern semi of the North Pacific subpolar gyre.

It is a shallow current carrying relatively warm water northward and thus has a climate influence similar to that exercised by the North Atlantic and Norwegian Currents on the climates of northwestern Europe, though on a smaller scale. It flows cyclonically around the Gulf of Alaska, feeding into the Alaskan Stream. Freshwater from the many rivers of Canada and Alaska reduces the water density near the coast; the result is a pressure gradient normal to the coast that constrains the current geostrophically to the coastal region and increases its speed to 0.3 m s-1.