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golfstraumen Lofoten.com - The Gulf Stream

The Gulf Stream is known as ”the source of heat that keeps us alive”.

In Nordic waters, the Gulf Stream has been stable for the past 10,000 years.

The Gulf Stream starts off the coast of Florida and flows towards the North Atlantic. It reaches Europe on the coast of Ireland, continuing south of England, through the English Channel and into the North Sea.

The main current runs between Scotland and Iceland, following the coast of Norway to the north, ending up in the Barents Sea, the Arctic Ocean or the Greenland Sea. The current is also known as the North Atlantic Drift.

About the Gulf Stream:
As the Atlantic waters flow towards the north, heat and damp are given off to the atmosphere. This heat loss makes the surface water gradually heavier and its salinity is altered. Changes in salinity, and the resulting increase in the water’s weight, are part of the motive force of the North Atlantic drift.

What is unique about this ocean current, is its circulation. It is vertical, causing deep waters to be formed in the north, together with a reverse current along the bottom towards the south.

These enormous amounts of water, about 4 million cubic metres a second, give off as much heat a day as the world’s total coal consumption does in 10 years. This causes temperatures in Norway to be 4-5 degrees higher than would otherwise be expected at this latitude. The current helps ensure a mild climate along the Norwegian coast and in the British Isles.