Global ocean currents. Computer artwork showing surface ocean currents. Warm water is red and cold water is blue. Surface currents are driven by the winds. At bottom is the eastward flowing Antarctic Circumpolar current. It is unobstructed by land for the entire circuit of the Earth and is the strongest current. The Gulf Stream is a warm current that arises in the Caribbean Sea and travels up the Eastern coast of the USA before crossing the Atlantic. It keeps western Europe significantly warmer than it would otherwise be. The Trade Winds drive the water westward along the equator and at mid-latitudes the water is driven eastwards by the easterlies. These opposing winds cause the currents in the ocean basins to form gyres, or giant loops.
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