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The sverdrup (symbol: Sv) is a non-SI unit of volume transport. It is used almost exclusively in oceanography to measure the volumetric rate of transport of ocean currents. It is named after Harald Sverdrup.

It should not be confused with SI unit sievert or the non-SI svedberg, which use the same 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 1.2 sverdrup.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]


  1. ^ - The National Oceanographic Partnership Program's Ocean Surface Currents website - See entry on Sverdrup
  2. ^ "Ecoworld: "Sverdrups & Brine"". Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  3. ^ ""Lagerloef, G., Schmitt, R., Schanze, J. Kao, H-Y, 2010, The Ocean and the Global Water Cycle, Oceanography, Vol.23, No.4"". Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  4. ^ "The Gulf Stream". Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "The Antarctic Circumpolar Current". Retrieved 12 August 2017.