Are compensatory flows of water that balance the flows of the major currents. Any flow in one direction has to be balanced by an equal volume of water flowing in the opposite direction. However, these counter-flows may lie either beneath or to one side of the main currents. For example beneath the north-eastern flow of the Gulf Stream is a southward-flowing counter-current, and the counter-current of the Humboldt Current in the south-west Pacific is a mirror-image of the Gulf Stream flows. Similarly the strong currents that flow along the equator, especially in the Pacific, are flanked to north and south and underlain by counter-currents. The large-scale (or thermohaline) circulation of the oceans, which is such an important regulator of global climate, is the ultimate expression of the requirement for there to be compensatory flows. For illus. see currents.
M. V. Angel
Subjects: Maritime History.