Eastern Boundary Currents
Eastern boundary currents, which flow from high latitudes to the equator, are slower, shallower, and wider than western boundary currents. Similar to the return flow in a household heating system, these currents transport colder waters into the tropics, at about 3 to 7 kilometers per day, where they are heated and transported poleward in the western boundary currents.
The California current, which flows southward along the California coastline is located 40 to 100 miles off the west coast of North America, may be found above, in a range of red and orange colors. The image is made from Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data from the MODIS instrument carried on Aqua, a NASA satellite. Compare this image to the western boundary current image, notice that the California current has cooler water temperatures than the Gulf Stream Current. The image also shows upwelling and eddies in the California Current system.
Credit: Image provided by Norman Kuring, NASA/GSFC