When a surface current collides with land, the current must change direction. In the figure below, the Atlantic South Equatorial Current travels westward along the equator until it reaches South America. Near Brazil, some of it goes north and some goes south. Because of Coriolis effect, the water goes right in the Northern Hemisphere and left in the Southern Hemisphere.You can see on the map below the major surface ocean currents that the surface ocean currents create loops called gyres.
The Antarctic Circumpolar Current is unique because it travels uninhibited around the globe. Why is it the only current to go all the way around?
- Dynamic Earth: Introduction to Physical Geography. Authored by: R. Adam Dastrup. Located at: http://www.opengeography.org/physical-geography.html. Project: Open Geography Education. License: CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Ocean Currents. Authored by: dan ezzo - izzo. Located at: https://youtu.be/Hu_Ga0JYFNg. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube License
- Oceanic gyres. Provided by: NOAA. Located at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oceanic_gyres.png. License: Public Domain: No Known Copyright