The Namib Col Current

Speer, KG, Siedler G, Talley L.  1995.  The Namib Col Current. Deep-Sea Research Part I-Oceanographic Research Papers. 42:1933-1950.

Date Published:



basin, circulation, flow, indian-ocean, intermediate, south-atlantic, Tracers


Recent measurements indicate the transatlantic extent of the Namib Col Current at depths of 1300-3000 m near Lat. 22 degrees S in the South Atlantic Ocean. This current forms a continuous circulation structure from the Namib Col on the Walvis Ridge to the western trough, though its characteristic change as deepwater with varying properties enters and leaves the current owing to a meridional flow component. Transport estimates from hydrographic sections on the Walvis Ridge and at 15 degrees W near the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge indicate a strength of about 3 x 10(6) m(3) s(-1) The current is part of a larger-scale eastward Row at Lon. 25 degrees W; transport estimates across the salinity maximum core there show a similar strength. Associated with this high-salinity high-oxygen current is a basin-wide front in these properties of varying intensity (weaker in the east) marking the transition to deep water whose North Atlantic characteristics have been partly erased by mixing with Circumpolar Deep Water in the southwest South Atlantic. The water which finally crosses the Walvis Ridge is supplied both by the eastward flow of this (diluted) North Atlantic Deep Water and by a general southeastward interior flow from the northern Angola Basin. Evidence suggests that this deep water continues south in the eastern Cape Basin, leaving the South Atlantic near the African continent.