Pathways and variability of the off-equatorial undercurrents in the Atlantic Ocean
Article first published online: 22 OCT 2008
Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (1978–2012)
Volume 113, Issue C10, October 2008
How to Cite
2008), Pathways and variability of the off-equatorial undercurrents in the Atlantic Ocean, J. Geophys. Res., 113, C10018, doi:10.1029/2007JC004700., and (
- Issue published online: 22 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 22 OCT 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 JUL 2008
- Manuscript Revised: 13 JUN 2008
- Manuscript Received: 17 DEC 2007
- equatorial circulation;
 The cold upwelling waters of the eastern tropical oceans not only interact with the atmospheric circulation via changing the sea surface temperatures but also influence the biological activity via affecting the nutrient and oxygen contents of the upwelling waters. While the sources of the equatorial upwelling associated with the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) have been studied extensively, the relevance of the northern and southern off-equatorial undercurrents (NEUC, SEUC) for the off-equatorial upwelling regions has remained unclear. In this study we use output from a high-resolution, 1/12° model (FLAME) to investigate the mean pathways and variability of the off-equatorial undercurrents (OEUCs) in the Atlantic. In particular, a calculation of Lagrangian trajectories helps to gain insight into the source waters of the OEUCs and their connection to the upwelling regions in the eastern tropical Atlantic. In the model solution the sources of both OEUCs belong almost exclusively to the Southern Hemisphere. The pathways of the source waters are found to be governed by strong recirculations between the different eastward and westward zonal currents because of intense eddy motions associated with the tropical instability wave activity. Whereas the SEUC is predominantly fed through the recirculation in the ocean interior, the NEUC is also fed by a weak inflow from the western boundary current. Investigation of the fate of the NEUC shows only a weak direct supply to the upwelling in the Guinea Dome and along the African coast but a significant contribution to the equatorial upwelling.