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Title: Sverdrup  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Sievert, Antarctic Circumpolar Current, North Brazil Current, Agulhas Current, Loop Current
Collection: Non-Si Metric Units, Oceanography, Units of Flow
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The sverdrup, named in honour of the pioneering oceanographer Harald Sverdrup, is a unit of measure of volume transport. It is used almost exclusively in oceanography, to measure the volumetric rate of transport of ocean currents. Its symbol is Sv. Note that the sverdrup is not an SI unit, and that its symbol conflicts with the sievert's symbol. It is equivalent to 1 million cubic metres per second (264,000,000 USgal/s).[1][2] The entire global input of fresh water from rivers to the ocean is equal to about 1 sverdrup (time period and source needed).

The water transport in the Gulf Stream gradually increases from 30 Sv in the Florida Current to a maximum of 150 Sv south of Newfoundland at 55°W longitude.[3] The heat carried within this volume equals roughly that transported through the atmosphere to make the relatively milder climate of north-western Europe. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current, at approximately 125 Sverdrups, is the largest ocean current.[4]


  1. ^ - The National Oceanographic Partnership Program's Ocean Surface Currents website - See entry on Sverdrup
  2. ^ Ecoworld: "Sverdrups & Brine"
  3. ^ Joanna Gyory, Arthur J. Mariano, Edward H. Ryan: "The Gulf Stream"
  4. ^ Surface Currents in the Southern Ocean
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