List of Major Ocean Currents in the World

world's ocean currents

We have classified all the list of major ocean currents of the world on the basis of temperature: cold ocean currents and warm ocean currents.

We have also discussed some of the important facts related to ocean currents. Find below the extensive lists of cold and warm ocean currents of the world respectively.

List of Cold Ocean Currents

List of Cold Ocean Currents of the World
Cold Ocean Current Region Important or Additional Facts
Humboldt or Peruvian Current South Pacific Ocean
  • The Current is named after Prussian naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt.
  • This low-salinity current has a large marine eco-system serves as one of the major nutrient systems of the world.
  • Flows from the southernmost tip of Chile to northern Peru, along the west coast of South America.
Kurile or Oya shio Current North Pacific Ocean
  • This sub-arctic ocean current circulates in a counterclockwise direction.
  • It originates in the Arctic Ocean flows south via the Bering Sea in the western North Pacific Ocean.
  • It is a nutrient-rich current.
  • It collides with Kurioshio off the Japanese eastern shore to form North Pacific Drift.
California Current Pacific Ocean
  • It is the extension of Aleutian Current along the west coast of North America in southward flowing direction.
  • It is a part of North Pacific Gyre.
  • Region of strong Upwelling.
Antarctic Circumpolar Current Southern Ocean
  • It is the largest ocean current in the world.
  • It is also known as West Wind Drift.
  • It flows from east to west around Antarctica in a clockwise direction.
Labrador Current North Atlantic Ocean
  • It flows from the Arctic Ocean towards the south and meets the warm northward moving Gulf Stream.
  • The combination of cold Labrador Current and warm Gulf Stream is known for creating one of the richest fishing grounds of the world.
Canary Current North Atlantic Ocean
  • This Eastern Boundary Current is a part of North Atlantic Gyre.
  • It is named after the Canary Islands.
  • Presence of Upwelling.
Eastern Greenland Current Arctic Ocean & North Atlantic Ocean
  • Low salinity current extending between Fram Strait and Cape Farewell.
  • It connects the Arctic directly to North Atlantic.
  • Major freshwater sink for the Arctic.
  • It is a major contributor to sea-ice export out of Arctic.
Benguela Current South Atlantic Ocean
  • Branch of West Wind Drift of the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Eastern portion of South Atlantic Ocean Gyre.
  • Low salinity, presence of upwelling- excellent fishing zone.
Falkland Current South Atlantic Ocean
  • It is a branch of Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
  • It is also known as Malvinas Current.
  • It is named after the Falkland Islands.
  • This cold current mixes with warm Brazil current and form Brazil-Malvinas Confluence Zone which is responsible for the region’s temperate climate.
Northeast Monsoon Current North Indian Ocean
Somali Current West Indian Ocean
  • Analogous to the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The Current is heavily influenced by monsoon.
  • Region of major upwelling system.
Western Australian Current Southern Ocean & South Indian Ocean
  • It is also known as West Wind Drift.
  • It is a part of Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
  • It is a seasonal current- strong in summer and weak in winter.
South Indian Ocean Current South Indian Ocean
  • Analogous to South Atlantic Current.

world's ocean currents

List of Warm Ocean Currents

List of Warm Ocean Currents of the World
Warm Ocean Current Region Important or Additional Facts
North Equatorial Current Pacific Ocean & Atlantic Ocean
  • Flows east to west between 10° N to 20°N.
  • It forms the southern side of the clockwise sub-tropical gyre.
  • It has no relation with the equator despite the term “equatorial” being used in its name.
Kuroshio Current Pacific Ocean
  • This west boundary current is also known as Japan Current or Black Current. The term “Kuroshio” in Japanese means “Black Stream”.
  • It is the Pacific analogue of Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The average surface temperature of this current is warmer than the surrounding ocean. This also helps in regulating the temperature of Japan, which is relatively warmer. Thanks to Kuroshio!
North Pacific Current Pacific Ocean
  • It is formed by the collision of Kurioshio & Oyashio.
  • It circulates counter-clockwise along the Western North Pacific Ocean.
Alaskan Current North Pacific Ocean
  • It results from a northward diversion of a part of the North Pacific Ocean.
  • It forms two large eddies- Haida Eddies and Sitka Eddy
Equatorial Counter Current Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean
  • This wind-driven current flows west to east between 3°N-10°N.
  • It is also called North Equatorial Countercurrent.
El Nino Current Central & East-Central Equatorial Pacific
  • Speed and strength of ocean currents impacted by the occurrence of El Nino events.
Tsushima Current Sea of Japan
  • Branch of Kuroshio Current
South Equatorial Current Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean
East Australian Current South-Western Pacific Ocean
  • Acts to transport tropical marine fauna to habitats in sub-tropical regions along the southeast Australian coast.
Florida Current South Atlantic Ocean & Caribbean Sea
  • Flows around Florida Peninsula and joins the Gulf Stream at Cape Hatteras.
  • Discovered in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León.
Gulf Stream North Atlantic Ocean
  • Western intensified current-driven mainly by wind stress.
  • It splits into North Atlantic Drift (crossing Northern Europe & southern stream) and Canary Current (recirculating of West Africa).
Norwegian Current North Sea (Atlantic Ocean) & Barents Sea (Arctic Ocean)
  • This wedge-shaped current is one of the two dominant Arctic inflows of water.
  • It is a branch of North Atlantic Drift and sometimes also considered as an extension of the Gulf Stream.
Irminger Current North Atlantic Ocean
  • It is a part of the North Atlantic sub-polar gyre.
  • It is named after the Danish vice-admiral Carl Ludvig Christian Irminger.
Antilles Current North Atlantic Ocean
  • It flows past the island chain that separates the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
  • It is a part of North Atlantic gyre.
Brazilian Current South Atlantic Ocean
  • Flows along the south coast of Brazil till Rio de la Palta.
  • It joins cold Falkland Current at the Argentine Sea making it a temperate sea.
Mozambique Current Indian Ocean
  • Flows between Mozambique and the island of Madagascar along the African east coast in the Mozambique Channel.
  • Large anticyclonic Mozambique channel eddies are formed.
Agulhas Current South-West Indian Ocean
  • Largest western boundary ocean current.
  • Flows south along the east coast of Africa.
Southwest Monsoon Current Indian Ocean
  • It dominates the Indian Ocean during the southwest monsoon season (June–October).
  • It is a broad eastward flowing ocean current that extends into the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.
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