On his expedition to South America, Alexander von Humboldt discovered a natural occurrence which, even today, influences various aspects of the weather and biodiversity off the coast of Peru and Chile. Now referred to as the Humboldt current it influences the weather in two ways. The first of these is that it acts as an environmental cooling mechanism. Secondly, it is so large that it has established an overall dry environment around the coast near which it can be found. The Humboldt current is also recognized for its consistently abundant delivery of nutrient-rich water. For this reason, the Humboldt current is responsible for sustaining a wide variety of marine plant, microbial, and animal species. Because of the variety of meteorological and biological impacts this current has on the natural environment near the coast of South America, its name accurately reflects the broad scientific interests and aspirations of its discoverer, who dedicated his career to the study of unity among a multitude of scientific fields.
The American Heritage Science Dictionary via The Free Dictionary