Transformation of an Agulhas eddy near the continental slope
- 1Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
- 2Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA
Abstract. The transformation of Agulhas eddies near the continental slope of southern Africa and their subsequent self-propagation are analyzed in both observational data and numerical simulations. Self-propagation results from a net dipole moment of a generalized heton structure consisting of a surface-intensified anticyclonic eddy and deep cyclonic pattern. Such Agulhas vortical structures can form near the retroflection region and further north along the western coast of southern Africa. We analyze nonlinear topographic wave generation, vortex deformations, and filament production as an important part in water mass exchange. Self-propagating structures provide a conduit for exchange between the deep ocean and shelf regions in the Benguela upwelling system.