Currents of the Pacific Ocean

Currents of the Pacific Ocean

In the Equatorial belt of the Pacific Ocean, two streams of equatorial currents flow across the ocean from the Central American Coast.

Between these two, the North Equatorial Current and the South Equatorial Current flows a Counter Equatorial current moves west to east.

The North Equatorial Current turns northwards and flows along the Philippines Islands, Taiwan and Japan to form the warm Kuro Shio or Kuro Siwo current.

From the southeast coast of Japan, the current comes under the influence of westerlies and flows right across the ocean as North Pacific Current.

After reaching the west coast of North America, it bifurcates into two branches.

The northern branch flows anti clockwise along the coast of British Columbia and Alaska and is known as the Alaska Current.

The warm waters of this current help to keep the Alaska coast ice free in winter.

The other branch of the North Pacific Current moves southward along the coast of California as the Cold Californian Current.

It eventually joins the North Equatorial Current to complete its circuit.


In the northern part of the Pacific Ocean two cold currents also flow.

These are the Oya Siwo Current and Okhotsk Current.

The cold Oya Siwo Current flows along the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Another cold current, Okhotsk Current flows past Sakhalin to merge with the Oya Siwo Current near Hokkaido Island.

It later merges with Kuro Siwo Current and sinks beneath the warm waters of the North Pacific Currents.


In the South Pacific Ocean, the South Equatorial Current flows towards west and turns southwards as the East Australian Current.

It then meets near Tasmania the cold South Pacific Current which flows from west to east.

On reaching the South Western Coasts of South America, it turns north wards as the cold Peru Current. It then meets the South Equatorial Current and completes the circuit.

The cold waters of the Peru Current are partly responsible for making the coast of northern Chile and western Peru with very scanty rainfall.