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A buoy in the Mozambique Channel

Image of the Month - May 2022

Aquaflex-3C locations overlaid on Absolute dynamic topography from altimetry (Duacs multi-mission processing; Credit EU Copernicus Marine Service; locations Argos for Argonautica)

Late last October, a buoy was launched for a middle school from Mayotte Island in the Mozambique Channel, in the frame of the Cnes Argonautica educational project. The buoy made some turns around, going mostly South before acceleration close to the African continent, going South-South-West. It then went South of Good Hope Cape, before turning due East, and stopping. This path is a good illustration of several oceanographic features in the region, and of the possibilites of altimetry to observe them. 

The Absolute Dynamic Topography shown above is definitely a better variable to explain the acceleration of the path close to Africa, since it reflects the total dynamic height, including the height due to the main stable currents (and its derived geostrophic velocities the total geostrophic current) - here the Agulhas system, while the Sea Level Anomalies show more the eddies - and are thus specially interesting in the Mozambique Channel proper. When the buoy began taking the retroflection current East, both data show the very high eddies there. (Notice the buoy was undrogued, so may show wind effects). 


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