The Alaska Current
is a northward warm-water current along the coast of British Columbia
and the Alaska Panhandle
. The current results from the northward diversion of a portion of the North Pacific Current
when that current meets the west coast of the North American continent
. It forms a part of the counterclockwise gyre
in the Gulf of Alaska
. In contrast to typical sub-Arctic Pacific water, Alaska Current water is characterized by temperatures above 39° F (4° C) and surface salinities below 32.6 parts per thousand.
In the northern Gulf of Alaska, the Alaska Current continues into the Alaskan Stream, which begins near Kodiak Island and flows southwestward along the Alaska Peninsula.
The Alaska Current produces large clockwise eddies at two sites: west of the Queen Charlotte Islands ("Queen Charlotte Eddy" or "Haida Eddies") and west of Sitka ("Sitka Eddy").