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Peru Current[pə′rü ′kə·rənt]
a system of ocean currents in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. It consists of the Peru oceanic and Peru coastal currents, which flow northward, and the Peru and Peru-Chile countercurrents, which move southward. The Peru
Oceanic Current, also called the Humboldt Current, is a wide, slow (speeds to 20 cm per sec) stream carrying the relatively cold (15°-20°C) waters of the temperate latitudes from the West Wind Drift to the equator. The current transports 15,000,000-20,000,000 cu m of water per sec. Together with the Peru Coastal Current it forms the South Equatorial Current.
The Peru Countercurrent, which separates the Peru oceanic and coastal currents, flows southward from the equator along 80°W long. As it flows southward, its volume transport decreases from 10,000,000 cu m per sec at 5° S lat. to 2,000,000 cu m per sec at 22° S lat. The Peru-Chile Countercurrent (Gunther Current) is usually a subsurface current. It moves southward along the edge of the continental shelf under the Peru Coastal Current and carries the waters of the Cromwell Current. A combination of favorable conditions makes the Peru Current an area of exceptionally high biological productivity. An important factor is the action of the southeast trade winds, which cause deep-sea waters, rich in nutrient salts, to rise to the surface.