The Angola Current in a Tropical Seasonal Upwelling System : Seasonal Variability in Response to Remote Equatorial and Local Forcing

In this thesis, the flow and hydrographic characteristics of the boundary circulation off Angola are investigated, with particular emphasis on the mean properties and the seasonal cycle of the Angola Current. Moored velocity observations acquired at the Angolan shelf at 11°S between 2013 and 2016 reveal a highly variable alongshore flow with velocities in the range of ±40 cm/s superimposed on a weak poleward mean current with core velocities not exceeding 8 cm/s. These measurements question the former view of a permanently poleward flowing Angola Current, which was based on results from few ship campaigns. During the observational period a mean Angola Current southward transport of 0.32±0.05 Sv is determined. Pronounced annual and semiannual oscillations are found in the alongshore current characterized by distinct baroclinic structures. In the equatorial Atlantic, annual and semiannual oscillations are associated with resonant equatorial basin-modes of the fourth baroclinic mode for the annual cycle and the second baroclinic mode for the semiannual cycle. Equatorial basin-modes represent standing modes in a zonally bounded basin being composed of equatorial Kelvin and Rossby waves. A series of shallow water model experiments differing in the basin geometry and/or the applied forcing show a structural robustness of the corresponding horizontal patterns associated with the annual and semiannual cycles. The off-equatorial lobes of the basin-modes also impact alongshore velocity at the eastern boundary off Angola. In a suite of shallow water model simulations the remote equatorial forcing related to basin-modes is isolated from the effects of local forcing. The observed annual cycle of alongshore velocity at 11°S is well reproduced by the remote equatorial forcing. For the semiannual cycle, the inclusion of local forcing improves the agreement between observed and simulated velocity oscillations at 11°S.


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