Cruise data sets, satellite remote sensing observations, and model data analyses are combined to highlight the existence of a coastal surface poleward flow in the southwest of Madagascar: the Southwest MAdagascar Coastal Current (SMACC). The SMACC is a relatively shallow (<300 m) and narrow (<100 km wide) warm and salty coastal surface current, which flows along the south western coast of Madagascar toward the south, opposite to the dominant winds. The warm water surface signature of the SMACC extends from 22°S (upstream) to 26.4°S (downstream). The SMACC exhibits a seasonal variability: more intense in summer and reduced in winter. The average volume transport of its core is about 1.3 Sv with a mean summer maximum of 2.1 Sv. It is forced by a strong cyclonic wind stress curl associated with the bending of the trade winds along the southern tip of Madagascar. The SMACC directly influences the coastal upwelling regions south of Madagascar. Its existence is likely to influence local fisheries and larval transport patterns, as well as the connectivity with the Agulhas Current, affecting the returning branch of the global overturning circulation.
Geophysical Research Letters – Wiley
Published: Jan 28, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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