Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream, the most important of the great ocean currents; it issues by the Strait of Florida from the Gulf of Mexico (whence its name), a vast body of water 50 m. wide, with a temperature of 84° and a speed of 5 m. an hour; flows along the coast of the U.S. as far as Newfoundland, whence it spreads itself in a NE. direction across the Atlantic, throwing out a branch which skirts the coasts of Spain and Africa, while the main body sweeps N. between the British Isles and Iceland, its influence being perceptible as far as Spitzbergen; the climate of Britain has been called “the gift of the Gulf Stream,” and it is the genial influence of this great current which gives to Great Britain and Norway their warm and humid atmosphere, and preserves them from experiencing a climate like Labrador and Greenland, a climate which their latitude would otherwise subject them to.

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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