Satellite Observations of Oceanic Eddies Around Africa

  • Werner AlpersEmail author
  • Dominique Dagorne
  • Peter Brandt


Oceanic eddies having scales from several hundred meters to several hundred kilometers are ubiquitous phenomena in the World’s ocean. This became evident only after they could be observed from satellites and space shuttles. Here we present several images taken in different spectral bands which show signatures of eddies of different spatial scales in sea areas around Africa. In particular, we present a series of satellite images showing the propagation of a small-scale cyclonic (cold) eddy generated at Cap-Vert at the coast of Senegal into the open ocean. We show that this small-scale eddy transported nutrients from the Senegal upwelling region westward into the oligotrophic North Atlantic thus giving rise to enhanced chlorophyll-a concentration there. Since eddies are also areas of high fish population, knowledge of their position and properties is of great importance for fishery.


Synthetic Aperture Radar Synthetic Aperture Radar Image Anticyclonic Eddy Mesoscale Eddy Cyclonic Eddy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank NASA and ESA for providing the data and Sergey Stanichny for calling our attention to the NASA source of the MODIS reflectance map at 555 nm shown in Fig. 11.6. This study was supported by BMBF-Ib and AIRD grants obtained to build the Trilateral German–French–African Environmental research initiatives in Sub-Sahara Africa entitled AWA “Ecosystem Approach to the management of fisheries and the marine environment in West African waters”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Werner Alpers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dominique Dagorne
    • 2
  • Peter Brandt
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut für MeereskundeUniversität of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.US ImagoInstitut de Recherche pour le DéveloppementPlouzanéFrance
  3. 3.GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung KielKielGermany

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