Sunday, February 02, 2014

The Gulf Stream

Ben Dixon MacNeill, in his 1958 book The Hatterasman, remarks that the volume of the Gulf Stream (he calls it "the Great River"), "is equal to that of 1,000 Mississippi Rivers."

I know the Gulf Stream is a colossal body of moving water that originates at the southern tip of Florida and flows along the eastern seaboard. The Gulf Stream influences our weather here on the Outer Banks, not only regarding storms and hurricanes, but more generally. The warm waters of this "Great River" help moderate Ocracoke's temperatures. And they provide great off-shore fishing!

The Blue Waters of the Gulf Stream

I wasn't sure how accurate MacNeill's assessment of the size of the Gulf Stream was, so I did a bit of research. According to The Gulf Stream as a Graded River by R.M. Prall of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts (, "The gulf Stream carries a volume of water north through the Straits of Florida that is more than 70 times the combined flow of all the land rivers of the world"

I can't comprehend such large numbers (1,000 Mississippi Rivers, or 70 times the combined flow of all the land rivers), but I know it is huge...and totally awesome. What a remarkable planet we inhabit!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of the 2013 Portsmouth Island Christmas Bird Count. You can read it here:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:03 PM

    Wow, that is hard to fathom. What an interesting read. God did indeed create an amazing planet for us to live on. Thanks for sharing these factoids.