Monitoring the oceanic flow between Africa and Antarctica: Report of the first GoodHope cruise
South African Journal of Science
Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa; LPO/UBO UFR Sciences, 6 ave. Le Gorgeu, 29285 Brest Cedex, France; NOAA/AOML, U.S. Department of Commerce, 4301 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, United States; Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology Department, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa; Southern Ocean Group, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa; Physical Oceanography Division, NOAA/AOML, 4301 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, United States
THE SOUTHERN OCEAN PLAYS A MAJOR role in the global oceanic circulation, as a component of the Meridional Overturning Circulation, and it is postulated that it has a great influence on present-day climate. However, our understanding of its complex three-dimensional dynamics and of the impact of its variability on the climate system is rudimentary. The newly constituted, international GoodHope research venture aims to address this knowledge gap by establishing a programme of regular observations across the Southern Ocean between the African and Antarctic continents. The objectives of this programme are fivefold: (1) to improve understanding of Indo-Atlantic inter-ocean exchanges and their impact on the global thermohaline circulation and thus on global climate change; (2) to understand in more detail the influence these exchanges have on the climate variability of the southern African subcontinent; (3) to monitor the variability of the main Southern Ocean frontal systems associated with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current; (4) to study air-sea exchanges and their role on the global heat budget, with particular emphasis on the intense exchanges occurring within the Agulhas Retroflection region south of South Africa, and (5) to examine the role of major frontal systems as areas of elevated biological activity and as biogeographical barriers to the distribution of plankton. We present here preliminary results on the physical and biological structure of the frontal systems using the first GoodHope transect that was completed during February-March 2004.
oceanic circulation; oceanic regions; Southern Ocean; World