|1. The Loop Current
Warm water from the Yucatan Current (fed by the Caribbean, Guiana and North Equatorial currents) flows northward through the Yucatan Channel and into the Gulf of Mexico. The current can travel as far north as the Mississippi River Delta before looping south and feeding into the Florida Current.
Web site: www.oceancurrents.
|2. The Florida Current
This warm water then flows into the Straits of Florida and runs along the Keys before hooking northward again. From space, the current looks like a river within the ocean. It can be 10 degrees warmer than surrounding waters.
|3. The Gulf Stream
This major ocean current travels north along the Eastern Seaboard before turning northeast at Cape Hatteras, N.C. Mariners have long used the Gulf Stream to help carry goods north and ultimately east to European markets. The path of the Gulf Stream can vary day to day. Since the Gulf Stream water is much clearer than surrounding waters, it appears deep blue from outer space. Scientists use satellite imagery to help pinpoint the Gulf Streams location.
Ocean currents, such as the Loop, Florida and Gulf Stream, play a significant role in world weather patterns. Since the waters of the Gulf Stream originate in the sunny Caribbean, the water is warm. In the winter, the water off Cape Hatteras, N.C. is actually warmer than the air temperature. The prevailing winds blow east across the warm water, which is why England, Ireland and Norway have warmer climates than other countries at the same latitude.