GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ocean currents around the Americas, artwork. Red arrows show the movement of warm water, blue arrows are cold water. At right, the red arrows show the Gulf Stream, one of the strongest ocean currents. This huge warm current arises in the Caribbean Sea and keeps western Europe significantly warmer than it would otherwise be. West of South America, the cold Humboldt Current flows northwards from the Antarctic Ocean. South of South America is the eastward flowing Antarctic Circumpolar Current. This is unobstructed by land for the entire circuit of the Earth, and is the strongest current. Ocean currents play a major role in determining weather patterns.
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