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Warm ocean current, part of a general clockwise-rotating system of currents in the North Atlantic. A major contribution of the Gulf Stream is its warming effect on the climates of adjacent land areas. In winter, the air over the ocean west of Norway is more than 40°F (22°C) warmer than the average for that latitude, one of the greatest temperature anomalies in the world. Winters in southwestern England are extraordinarily mild for this northern latitude because of the Gulf Stream. Regions of the Gulf Stream, such as the Grand Banks, have been among the most productive commercial fishing grounds in the world.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Gulf Stream, visit Britannica.com.