Gyre

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Gyre (English)
循環流

A Gyre is a system of circulating currents in an ocean, caused by the Coriolis Effect.

Major Gyres

Illustration depicting the five major oceanic gyres

There are five major gyres in the world's oceans:

  • North Pacific Gyre
  • South Pacific Gyre
  • North Atlantic Gyre
  • South Atlantic Gyre
  • Indian Ocean Gyre


Because gyres are systems of circulating currents, they result in marine debris accumulation at their centers. The most famous example of this phenomenon is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - a floating accumulation Marine Debris comprised largely of plastic trash and human waste located north of Hawaii.

An organization whose mission is to "conduct research and communicate about the global impact of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and employ strategies to eliminate the accumulation of plastic pollution in the 5 subtropical gyres" is 5 Gyres.

Minor Gyres

In addition to the five major oceanic gyres, there are also smaller equatorial gyres in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Northern Indian Oceans.



This article is part of a series on Clean Water which looks at various threats to the water quality of our oceans, and the negative impacts polluted waters can have on the environment and human health.

For information about laws, policies, programs and conditions impacting water quality in a specific state, please visit Surfrider's State of the Beach report to find the State Report for that state, and click on the "Water Quality" indicator link.


This article is part of a series on the Ocean Ecosystem looking at the various species of plants and animals which depend on a healthy coast and ocean environment, and the threats that can be posed to them by human activity

For information about laws, policies and conditions impacting the beach ecology of a specific state, please visit Surfrider's State of the Beach report to find the State Report for that state, and click on the "Beach Ecology" indicator link.