We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Gulf Stream?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Gulf Stream is an ocean current that runs through the Atlantic Ocean. Its unusual pattern and features have made it a subject of great study since its discovery in the 16th century. The current has an important warming effect on many of the areas it borders, including the tropical waters off Florida's east coast, and the western coasts of the British Isles.

The sun heats the earth unevenly, giving more warmth at the equator than at the poles. As the warmer wind moves toward the poles, it creates prevailing winds that can affect ocean movement. In the Atlantic, the North Atlantic trade winds move from west to east across the northern part of the ocean, while further from the equator, another set of winds called the Westerlies pulls from east to west. One of the results of this wind combination is the Gulf Stream, a powerful and enormous ocean current that flows up along the eastern edge of North America before branching into two separate streams that move toward Scandinavia and Southern Europe.

Although depth and width varies as it travels, the Gulf Stream can be over one mile (1.61 km) deep and reach more than two miles (3.22 km) across in some places. Although it starts out extremely warm in its southern reaches, temperature drops and salinity increases as it flows north. Even with the drop in temperature, the Gulf Stream is believed to increase the temperatures of the coastal regions of Scotland, Ireland, England, and Norway.

Renowned for its size and warming capabilities, the Gulf Stream is also notable for its incredible speed. In some places, water moves at a blazing speed of between 100-200 million cubic meters of water per second. In comparison, experts estimate that the combined speed of all rivers flowing into the Atlantic, including the enormous Amazon and sturdy Mississippi rivers, is only .6 million cubic meters per second.

The Gulf Stream was first reported to the Western world by the explorer Ponce De Leon around 1513. Making use of it and the Westerlies, Spanish ships were able to navigate home faster, improving their ability to trade and colonize North America and the Caribbean region. In the late 18th century, American innovator Ben Franklin mapped the Gulf Stream, eventually convincing British sea captains to make use of the beneficial current to cut return trips to Europe by days and even weeks.

Some environmentalists fear that the Gulf Stream may suffer severe breakdowns as a result of global warming. In theory, if the current cannot flow to Northern Europe, temperatures in the region may drop severely as a result. As yet, there is insubstantial data to suggest that a breakdown is occurring, but many experts fear that rising water and air temperatures are already leading to an increase in the strength and number of tropical storms and hurricanes that gain power and speed from the Gulf Stream's awesome force.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for All The Science. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.