North Atlantic Current
The North Atlantic Current (also known as North Atlantic Drift and North Atlantic Sea Movement) is a powerful warm ocean current
An ocean current is a continuous, directed movement of ocean water generated by the forces acting upon this mean flow, such as breaking waves, wind, Coriolis effect, cabbeling, temperature and salinity differences and tides caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun...
that continues the Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...
northeast. West of Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...
it splits in two; one branch, the Canary Current
The Canary Current is a 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 Current. The...
, goes south, while the other continues north along the coast of northwestern Europe. It is thought to have a considerable warming influence on the climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...
, although a minority have disputed this. Other branches include the Irminger Current
The Irminger Current is a cold north Atlantic ocean current setting westward off the southwest coast of Iceland. It is composed of cold water blown from the Arctic regions by the polar easterly winds. It is also called the East Greenland current....
and the Norwegian Current
The Norwegian Current is a water current that flows north-easterly along the Atlantic coast of Norway at depths of between 50 and 100 meters...
. Driven by the global thermohaline circulation
The term thermohaline circulation refers to a part of the large-scale ocean circulation that is driven by global density gradients created by surface heat and freshwater fluxes....
(THC), the North Atlantic Current is also often considered part of the wind-driven Gulf Stream which goes further east and north from the North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...
n coast, across the Atlantic and into the Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...
- The North Atlantic Current. Elizabeth Rowe, Arthur J. Mariano, Edward H. Ryan, The Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies