What is a Gyre? And how many are there?

A gyre is a place where ocean currents meet and the debris in our oceans start to accumulate.

There are five major gyres: the North and South Pacific Subtropical Gyres, the North and South Atlantic Subtropical Gyres, and the Indian Ocean Subtropical Gyre.

In some instances, the term “gyre” is used to refer to the collections of plastic waste and other debris found in higher concentrations in certain parts of the ocean. While this use of "gyre" is increasingly common, the term traditionally refers simply to large, rotating ocean currents.

A gyre is a large system of rotating ocean currents.
There are five major gyres, which are large systems of rotating ocean currents. The ocean churns up various types of currents. Together, these larger and more permanent currents make up the systems of currents known as gyres. Image: Created by NOAA
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