An ocean current is a stream of water moving through a larger body of water. Just as a river is a stream of water moving through land, an ocean current is a “river” of water moving through the ocean.
One of the major ocean currents is the Gulf Stream, which flows out of the Gulf of Mexico and warms the east coast of the United States. But the greatest of all ocean currents is the West Wind Drift Current, a moving stream of water that circles the continent of Antarctica.
This current gets its name because it moves in the same west-to-east direction as the West Winds that circle Antarctica. The West Wind Drift Current ranges in width from 185 miles to 1,240 miles. Where it passes between Antarctica and South America, it moves at a speed of about three-quarters of a mile per hour.
It’s been estimated that the flow of the current at this point is close to 10 billion cubic feet of water per second, an amount equal to three times the flow of the Gulf Stream and 2,000 times the flow of the Amazon, the earth’s greatest river!