Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Antarctic Circumpolar Current
THE ANTARCTIC CIRCUMPOLAR CURRENT (ACC), also known as the West Wind Drift, is the only current that flows completely around the globe, unimpeded by continents. Famous explorers have often referenced the ACC in their navigational logs, including Edmond Halley (the first to note the ACC in a 1699–1700 voyage), James Cook, James Clark Ross, Sir Francis Drake, James Wed-dell. The ACC is notably the roughest sea crossing for navigators, particularly the 497 mi. (800 km.) wide Drake Passage extending around Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula. The role of the ACC as “mixer of the deep oceans” also has a significant impact on global climate. The ACC, as the name implies, flows around the continent of Antarctica in an eastward direction driven by westerly winds through the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. The ACC is as deep as 6,562–13,123 ft. (2,000–4,000 m.) and as wide as 1,243 mi. (2,000 km.), ...