Major Currents

Pacific Currents

  • Gyres are large rotating current systems in the ocean. The motion of gyres is determined by the direction of the prevailing winds and the influence of the Coriolis effect.
  • The major gyre in the North Pacific Ocean is called the North Pacific gyre.
  • This gyre is bounded by the North Equatorial Current, which moves northeastward along the western side of the North Pacific gyre. This current eventually turns into the Kursohio Current and moves eastward to the waters north of the Hawaiian Islands. Winds cause this current to flow towards North America, where it branches into the northward moving Alaskan Current and the southward moving California Current. Once this current reaches Baja California, it turns west and forms part of the North Equatorial current (www.eoearth.org).
  • There is another less well formed gyre in the north pacific called the sub-polar gyre, which rotates in the opposite direction as the north pacific gyre. This gyre rotates around a persistent area of low atmospheric pressure (www.seos-project.eu).
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