North atlantic current

From Glossary of Meteorology



North Atlantic Current

(Also known as North Atlantic Drift, West Wind Drift.) The eastward flowing current that originates from the Gulf Stream Extension east of the Grand Banks (about 40°N, 50°W).

It initially forms part of the Atlantic subtropical gyre but separates from it after less than 500 km near 45°W, turning northeastward and following the Arctic Polar Front, also known as the North Wall, with a transport of some 30 Sv (30 × 106 m3s-1). Some of this water enters the subpolar gyre through mixing across the polar front and feeds the Irminger Current, but most of it is delivered to the Norwegian Current. The North Atlantic Current carries warm subtropical water much farther north than any other current of the Northern Hemisphere. As a result the climate of northern Europe is much milder than the climate of Alaska or northern Siberia, both of which are located at comparable latitude.


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