SANAP Projects.


Principal Investigators: Prof Isabelle Ansorge and Dr Tarron Lamont

Discipline: Physical Oceanography

Short description of the project:

Schiermeier’s  2013 “Oceans under Surveillance” in Nature highlighted the need for an extensive array of continuous measurements across both the northern and southern Atlantic, as well as its neighbouring basins. The call for these observations is due to the ocean’s Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC), a global reaching system of ocean currents. It is the primary mechanism for the transport and storage of heat, freshwater and carbon between ocean basins. Climate models have shown that past changes in the strength of the MOC were linked to climate variations, with future predictions hinting that the MOC will continue to modulate climate change scenarios on time-scales from decades to centuries.

Recognition of the critical importance of the MOC in this region led to the creation of an International community initiative on the South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (SAMOC). The local branch of this initiative SAMOC-SA, underway since 2013, consists of a number of South African observational platforms aimed at monitoring long-term physical-chemical changes within the ocean current systems south of Africa, as well as their impact on local climate.

Following an investment of over $10 million, the SAMOC array now consists an extensive array of tall moorings, CPIES, full depth CTD stations, Argo deployments, sea time on the SA Agulhas II as well as a multitude of underway and surface measurements extending across the Greater Agulhas Current system and its inter-basin Leakage

SAMOC-SA fulfils the core objectives laid out in Theme 1 – sub-theme 3 “Large Scale Ocean Circulation and Global Climate” of the 2014 DST Plan for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (Skelton et al., 2014; Ansorge et al., 2017), MARS as well as the recently established South-South alliance of South Atlantic partners – Brazil, Argentina, South Africa.

Contact Details



Address:     Oceanography Department, University of Cape Town, Cape Town

Tel:              +27(0) 21 650 3280

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