Because of its shape, the Atlantic may be divided into two basins—North Atlantic Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean—each with a distinct circulation system. The clockwise-moving currents of the North Atlantic (North Equatorial Current, Antilles Current, Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Drift, Canaries Current) and the counterclockwise-moving currents of the South Atlantic (South Equatorial Current, Brazil Current, West Wind Drift, Benguela Current) are separated from each other by the Equatorial Counter Current; the Guinea Current off W Africa is a link between the two systems. At the Grand Banks off Newfoundland heavy fogs form along the front where the warm Gulf Stream meets the cold Labrador Current. The surface waters in the Atlantic's trade wind belts attain the highest salinity known in ocean water.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.