A whirlpool similar to the Maelstrom off the west coast of Norway.

Related Terms


A North Atlantic Ocean current, one of the terminal branches of the Gulf Stream System (part of the northern branch of the North Atlantic Current); it flows toward the west off the south- west coast of Iceland. A small portion of the water of the Irminger Current bends around the west coast of Iceland but the greater amount turns south and becomes more or less mixed with the water of the East Greenland Current.


A northeasterly or northerly wind occurring in winter off the west coast of Italy. It is a fresh wind of the fine weather mistral type.


A very violent wind and rain squall attended by thunder and vivid lightning often encountered during the rainy season along the west coast of Central America.


An ocean current flowing southward along the east coast of Greenland carrying water of low salinity and low temperature. The East Greenland Current is joined by most of the water of the Irminger Current. The greater part of the current continues through Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland, but one branch turns to the east and forms a portion of the counterclockwise circulation in the southern part of the Norwegian Sea. Some of the East Greenland Current curves to the right around the tip of Greenland, flowing northward into Davis Strait as the WEST GREENLAND CURRENT. The main discharge of the Arctic Ocean is via the East Greenland Current.


A nontidal current in the Mediterranean Sea that flows eastward along the African coast from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Strait of Sicily. It is the most permanent current in the Mediterranean Sea. The stability of the current is indicated by the proportion of no current observations, which averages less than 1 percent. The current is most constant just after it passes through the Strait of Gibraltar; in this region, west of longitude 3°W, 65 percent of all observations show an eastward set, with a mean speed of 1.1 knots and a mean maximum speed of 3.5 knots. Although the current is weaker between longitudes 3°W and 11°E, it remains constant, the speed averaging 0.7 knot through its length and its maximum speed being about 2.5 knots.


A northerly wind. In the southern United States, especially in Texas (Texas norther) in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Gulf of Panama away from the coast, and in central America (the norte), the norther is a strong cold wind from the northeast to northwest. It occurs between November and April, freshening during the afternoon and decreasing at night. It is a cold air outbreak associated with the southward movement of a cold anticyclone. It is usually preceded by a warm and cloudy or rainy spell with southerly winds. The norther comes as a rushing blast and brings a sudden drop of temperature of as much as 25°F in 1 hour or 50°F in 3 hours in winter. The California norther is a strong, very dry, dusty, northerly wind which blows in late spring, summer and early fall in the valley of California or on the west coast when pressure is high over the mountains to the north. It lasts from 1 to 4 days. The dryness is due to adiabatic warming during descent. In summer it is very hot. The Portuguese norther is the beginning of the trade wind west of Portugal. The term is used for a strong north wind on the coast of Chile which blows occasionally in summer. In southeast Australia, a hot dry wind from the desert is called a norther.


A slow-moving ocean current flowing generally northwestward along the west coast of Africa. It is caused mainly by the prevailing southeast trade winds. Near the equator the current flows westward and becomes the ATLANTIC SOUTH EQUATO- RIAL CURRENT.


A North Pacific Ocean current flowing southeast- ward along the west coast of North America from a point west of Vancouver Island to the west of Baja (Lower) California where it gradually widens and curves southward and southwestward, to continue as the westerly flowing PACIFIC NORTH EQUATO- RIAL CURRENT. The California Current is the southern branch of the Aleutian Current, augmented by the North Pacific Current, and forms the eastern part of the general clockwise oceanic circulation of the North Pacific Ocean. Although usually described as a permanent ocean current, the California Current is actually a poorly defined and variable flow easily influenced by the winds. See also MEXICO CURRENT


The 'Lash of St. Francis'. Name applied locally to south- erly hurricane winds along the west coast of Mexico. The cordonazo is associated with tropical cyclones in the southeastern North Pacific Ocean. These storms may occur from May to November, but ordinarily affect the coastal areas most severely near or after the Feast of St. Francis, October 4.


An Indian Ocean current which generally first flows northward and then northwestward off the west coast of Australia. This current varies seasonally with the strength of the wind and is most stable during November, December, and January, and least stable during May, June, and July, when it may set in any direction. North of 20°S the main part of this current flows north- westward into the Indian South Equatorial Current.

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