Currents are formed in 3 major ways:

  • Tidal Currents
  • Wind-driven Currents
  • Thermohaline circulation

I've seen the gulf stream mentioned as both a wind-driven surface current and being part of the thermohaline circulation, which is due to density differences.

Does the gulf stream belong to both classifications of currents?

  • $\begingroup$ It'd probably more complete if you also mentioned ocean gyres and coriolis. $\endgroup$
    – Siv
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


Yes.Thermohaline circulation is dependent on differences in water density, caused by differences in temperature and salinity between different bodies of water. It therefore requires deepwater areas, of which the northern and middle Atlantic have the most, for these differences or "gradients" to form. These are influences on the Gulf Stream.

In addition, the Gulf Stream is wind driven, as is true of most currents. So it depends on both influences.


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