Surface geostrophic currents represent the steady movement of the ocean’s surface. Notice the powerful Agulhas Current, flowing along South Africa’s east coast, before it turns eastward again further to the south. Also keep your eye out for a number of rings like structures, or eddies. These are cyclonic or anticyclonic vortices, which play an important role in moving heat energy, salt and nutrients around the ocean. An awareness of surface currents is important to the maritime industry, as well as the regional marine ecology.

The data presented here are courtesy of the E.U. Copernicus Marine Service. Surface currents are derived by applying theoretical formulae to absolute dynamic topography (or sea surface height) data, which are collected by satellite altimeters. Please see the Copernicus product page for more information.