Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Johann R.E. Lutjeharms & Lisa Beal & Wllhelmus P.M. De Ruijter
THE AGULHAS CURRENT is the major westernboundary current of the Southern Hemisphere. It completes the anticyclonic gyre of the South Indian Ocean, and because the African continent terminates at a relatively modest latitude, it becomes a mechanism for the climatologically important inter-ocean exchange between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The south-westward flowing Agulhas Current only becomes fully constituted along the east coast of southern Africa at a latitude somewhere between Durban (South Africa) and Maputo (Mozambique). It increases in speed and volume flux downstream. On average, its volume flux is 70 × 106 m.3/s, with only small temporal changes. Its depth, by contrast, can vary from 6561 ft. (2,000 m.) to the sea floor at 9,842 ft. (3,000 m.) over a period of months. It is underlain by an opposing undercurrent at a depth of 3,937 (1,200 m.), with a maximum velocity of about 0.2 m./s and carrying about 4 ...