The first in situ continuous full-water-column observations of the eastern boundary currents (EBCs) at 34.5°S in the South Atlantic are obtained using 23 months of data from a line of Current and Pressure recording Inverted Echo Sounders (CPIES) spanning the Cape Basin. The CPIES are used to evaluate the mean structure of the EBC, the associated water masses, and the volume transport variability. The estimated northward time-mean Benguela Current absolute geostrophic transport is 24 Sv, with a temporal standard deviation of 17 Sv. Beneath this current the time-mean transport is southward, indicating the presence of a deep-EBC (DEBC), with a time-mean transport of 12 Sv, and a standard deviation of 17 Sv. Offshore of these currents, the shallow and deep flows are more variable with weak time means, likely influenced by Agulhas Rings transiting through the region. Hydrographic data collected along the CPIES line demonstrate that the DEBC is carrying recently ventilated North Atlantic Deep Water, as it flows along the continental slope. This is consistent with a previously hypothesized interior pathway bringing recently ventilated North Atlantic Deep Water from the Deep Western Boundary Current across the Atlantic to the Cape Basin. The observations further indicate that much of the DEBC must recirculate within the basin. Spectral analyses of the shallow and deep EBC transport time series demonstrate that the strongest variability occurs on timescales ranging from 30 to 90 days, associated with the propagation of Agulhas Rings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science