Structure and transport of the East African Coastal Current


  • John C. Swallow,

  • Friedrich Schott,

  • Michèle Fieux


The East African Coastal Current (EACC) runs northward throughout the year between latitudes 11°S and 3°S, with surface speeds exceeding 1 m s−1 in northern summer. Mean transport from five sections near 4°–5°S is 19.9 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) northward in the upper 500 dbar, out to 120 km offshore. Below that, between 500 and 1000 dbar, there appears to be a weak variable transport of the order of 1 Sv. Comparing transports in the EACC with those in the boundary current north of Madagascar, it seems that most of the water in the upper 300 dbar of the northern branch of the South Equatorial Current goes into the EACC. Below 300 dbar there is an excess westward transport north of Madagascar which probably goes into the Mozambique Channel. At its northern end, in northern winter the EACC converges with the south-going Somali Current to form the Equatorial Countercurrent, with an eastward transport of about 22 Sv (0–300 dbar). In northern summer, the EACC merges into the north-going Somali Current.