Major Ocean Currents of the World

Ocean currents are large masses of surface water that circulate in regular patterns around the oceans. Warm currents flow from equatorial regions poleward having a higher surface temperature.While cold currents flow from polar regions toward equator having a lower surface temperature. Ocean current are generated by wind, Coriolis force, temperature and salinity gradients, and tides. Ocean currents greatly affect earth’s climate by transferring heat from the tropics to polar regions, and transferring precipitation to coastal regions. Ocean currents are measured in Sverdrup (Sv), with 1 Sv being equivalent to a flow rate of 1 million cu. m per sec.

Following is the list of Ocean Currents of the world along with their nature and location.
Ocean CurrentLocationNature
North Equatorial CurrentPacific and Atlantic Ocean current that flows east-to-west between about 10° north and 20° northWarm
Kuroshio Current
(Black Tide or Japan Current)
north-flowing ocean current on the west side of the North Pacific OceanWarm
North Pacific Currentflows west-to-east between 30 and 50 degrees north in the Pacific OceanWarm
Alaska Currentsouthwestern warm-water current along the coast of British Columbia and the Alaska PanhandleWarm
Equatorial Counter Current (North Equatorial Countercurrent)eastward moving, wind-driven current flowing 10-15m deep found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific OceansWarm
South Equatorial Currentin the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean that flows east-to-west between the equator and about 20 degrees southWarm
Tsushima Currentsurface oceanic current, the northeastward-flowing branch of the Kuroshio along the west coast of JapanWarm
East Australian Currentsouthward western boundary current that is formed from the South Equatorial Current (SEC) crossing the Coral Sea and reaching the eastern coast of AustraliaWarm
Humboldt Current (Peru Current)low-salinity ocean current that flows north along the western coast of South America.Cold
Oyashio Current (Kurile Current)subarctic ocean current that flows south and circulates counterclockwise in the western North Pacific OceanCold
California CurrentPacific Ocean current that moves southward along the western coast of North America, beginning off southern British Columbia and ending off southern Baja California PeninsulaCold
Antarctic Circumpolar Current (West Wind Drift)flows clockwise from west to east around Antarctica.Cold
Florida Currentflows from the Straits of Florida around the Florida Peninsula and along the southeastern coast of the USA before joining the Gulf Stream Current near Cape Hatteras.Warm
Norwegian Currentflows northeasterly along the Atlantic coast of Norway at depths of between 50 and 100 metres through the Barents Sea Opening into the Barents Sea.Warm
Irminger Currentnorth Atlantic ocean current setting westward off the southwest coast of Iceland.Warm
Antilles Currenthighly variable surface ocean current that flows northwesterly past the island chain that separates the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic OceanWarm
Gulf Streamoriginates in the Gulf of Mexico and stretches to the tip of FloridaWarm
Brazil Currentflows south along the Brazilian south coast to the mouth of the Río de la PlataWarm
Labrador Currentin the North Atlantic Ocean which flows from the Arctic Ocean south along the coast of Labrador and passes around Newfoundland, continuing south along the east coast of Nova ScotiaCold
Canary Currenta wind-driven surface current that is part of the North Atlantic Gyre. This eastern boundary current branches south from the North Atlantic Current and flows southwest about as far as Senegal where it turns west and later joins the Atlantic North Equatorial CurrentCold
East Greenland Currenteastern coast of Greenland along the Greenland continental marginCold
Benguela Currentextends from roughly Cape Point in the south, to the position of the Angola-Benguela front in the north,Cold
Falkland Currentflows northward along the Atlantic coast of Patagonia as far north as the mouth of the Río de la PlataCold
Mozambique Currentin the Indian Ocean flowing south along the African east coast in the Mozambique Channel, between Mozambique and the island of MadagascarWarm
Agulhas Currentwestern boundary current of the southwest Indian Ocean flows down the east coast of Africa from 27°S to 40°SWarm
Somali Currentan ocean boundary current that runs along the coast of Somalia and Oman in the Western Indian OceanCold
Western Australian Currentsurface current of the Southern Ocean and Southern Indian OceanCold
El Niñoin the western tropical Pacific Ocean shifts eastward along the equator toward the coast of South AmericaWarm
La Niñaalong the tropical west coast of South AmericaCold