Coherent water transport across the South Atlantic

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33 Scopus citations


The role of mesoscale eddies in transporting Agulhas leakage is investigated using a recent technique from nonlinear dynamical systems theory applied on geostrophic currents inferred from the over two decade long satellite altimetry record. Eddies are found to acquire material coherence away from the Agulhas retroflection, near the Walvis Ridge in the South Atlantic. Yearly, one to four coherent material eddies are detected with diameters ranging from 40 to 280 km. A total of 23 eddy cores of about 50 km in diameter and with at least 30% of their contents traceable into the Indian Ocean were found to travel across the subtropical gyre with minor filamentation. Only one eddy core was found to pour its contents on the North Brazil Current. While the ability of eddies to carry Agulhas leakage northwestward across the South Atlantic is supported by our analysis, this is more restricted than suggested by earlier ring transport assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4072-4079
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 28 2015


  • Agulhas rings
  • coherent material eddies
  • transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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