Agulhas current

From Glossary of Meteorology



Agulhas Current

(Also called Agulhas stream.) The major western semi of the subtropical gyre in the southern Indian Ocean and one of the swiftest ocean currents with mean speeds of 1.6 m s-1 and peak speeds exceeding 2.5 m s-1.

Its total transport of 70 Sv (70 × 106 m3s-1) near 31°S and up to 135 Sv (135 × 106 m3s-1) near 35°S is also among the largest of all ocean currents. The Agulhas Current is fed mainly from the East Madagascar Current and to a smaller degree from the Mozambique Current. When passing the Agulhas Bank, the current produces significant upwelling. To the south of the Cape of Good Hope, the current flows west to southwestward first but turns sharply eastward when reaching the Agulhas Current retroflexion region near 40°S, 20°E. Eddies spawned in this region continue to move westward and turn northward to join the Benguela Current. The transport of water from the Indian into the Atlantic Ocean through the eddies is an important part of the global ocean conveyor belt.


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