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On the recent warming of the Agulhas Current


The Agulhas Current is an energetic current driven by the wind field over the Indian Ocean. It has a profound effect on the climate and the coastal ecosystem of South Africa and plays a key role in the global ocean circulation. The current carries warm and salty water from the tropics polewards and controls the exchange of heat and salt between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Since the 1980s, the sea surface temperature of the Agulhas Current system has increased significantly. This is due to an increase of its transport in response to an augmentation in wind stress curl in the South Indian Ocean. This causes an intensification of the Agulhas Current system and leads to an increased flux of salt and heat into the Atlantic Ocean. There is also an augmentation in the transfer of energy from the Agulhas Current to the atmosphere due to increased evaporation. These observed changes could have far-reaching consequences over and above their potential regional impacts on ecosystems and climate.
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hal-00553307 , version 1 (21-01-2022)




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Mathieu Rouault, Pierrick Penven, Benjamin Pohl. On the recent warming of the Agulhas Current. Observations on Environmental Change in South Africa, South African Environmental Observation Network, pp.268-270, 2010. ⟨hal-00553307⟩
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