The greater Agulhas Current system: An integrated study of its mesoscale variability

TitleThe greater Agulhas Current system: An integrated study of its mesoscale variability
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBackeberg, B, Johannessen, JA, Bertino, L, Reason, CJC
JournalJournal of operational oceanography
Number of Pages29-44
Date Published02/2008
PublisherThe Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST)

For the purpose of developing an operational oceanography system for the greater Agulhas Current regime, a high resolution Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) has been set in a nested configuration. The intense and complex current regime poses a challenge in modelling. However, access to satellite and in-situ data with strong and persistent signals of the dynamics and mesoscale variability ensure that adequate model validation is feasible. The study concludes that HYCOM reproduces the general larger scale circulation of the greater Agulhas Current reasonably accurately in addition to the regionally specific characteristics and mesoscale variability. Furthermore, strong anticyclonic eddies occurring in the Mozambique Channel at a frequency of 5–6 per year, are found to drift southward and merge with the northern Agulhas Current. Evidence of these eddies can also be tracked further southwestwards into the southern Agulhas Current and sometimes all the way towards the Agulhas retroflection region. Operational forecasting of the greater Agulhas Current, and in particular the retroflection, must therefore adequately account for the presence and influence of the Mozambique Channel eddies, in order to forecast their evolution on time scales from days to weeks
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Author Address


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