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How fast is the Gulf Stream?

The Gulf Stream has an average speed of 6.4 kilometers per hour (four miles per hour).

Gulf Stream Current

The Gulf Stream Current — the main conveyor of heat from south to north in the Atlantic — swirls surface waters in this infrared image from the Suomi NPP satellite on April 16, 2013, centered around 290 kilometers (180 miles) due east of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The Gulf Stream is an intense, warm ocean current in the western North Atlantic Ocean. It moves north along the coast of Florida and then turns eastward off of North Carolina, flowing northeast across the Atlantic.

The velocity of the Gulf Stream current is fastest near the surface, with the maximum speed typically about nine kilometers per hour (5.6 miles per hour). The average speed of the Gulf Stream, however, is four miles per hour (6.4 kilometers per hour). The current slows to a speed of about 1.6 kilometers per hour (one mile per hour) as it widens to the north. The Gulf Stream transports an amount of water greater than that carried by all of the world's rivers combined.

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Last updated: 02/04/22
Author: NOAA
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