Coastal Circulation in the Southern Benguela Current
Event: 2015 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting
Session: Science II: Mesoscale and sub-mesoscale ocean processes: current understanding and preparation for SWOT
Presentation type: Type Poster
Altimeter data are used to describe the surface circulation in the southern Benguela Current (30°-35°S) and its connection to the circulation over the Agulhas Bank east of Cape Agulhas (20°E). Seasonal changes in wind forcing drives summer upwelling in the coastal branch of the southern Benguela Current, enriching an ecosystem that supports an important fishery. The life history of small pelagic fish in this region includes a period of spawning in a nursery region on the Agulhas Bank east of Cape Agulhas, followed by migration around the Cape and into the southern Benguela and St. Helena Bay. The surface circulation is hypothesized to connect these regions and aides in the seasonal movement of larval fish. Alongtrack and gridded altimeter data are used to look at this hypothesis and other suggested features of the seasonal and interannual variability of the circulation in this region. Details of the circulation as it connects St. Helena Bay to the outer cape region will be especially interesting for SWOT, which will provide high resolution fields of SSH with 1-day repeat coverage connecting the bay, Cape Columbine and the outer cape region during the initial phase of the mission.