Table of Contents
International Journal of Oceanography
Volume 2014, Article ID 325321, 16 pages
Research Article

Environmental Forcing of Red Tides in the Southern Benguela

1University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa 3886, South Africa
2Physics Department, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, PR 00681, USA

Received 18 February 2014; Revised 10 April 2014; Accepted 24 April 2014; Published 16 June 2014

Academic Editor: Robert Frouin

Copyright © 2014 Mark R. Jury. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Southern Benguela cape upwelling plumes have inshore wind shadows prone to red tides in late summer. Their intensity and coverage are estimated by satellite fluorescence measurements in the period 1997–2012 and qualified by in situ reports. High satellite fluorescence cases are identified at daily to seasonal time scales, and characteristics of the upper ocean and lower atmosphere are studied using third generation reanalyses. A dominant feature is easterly winds over the Cape Peninsula (34°S, 18°E) induced by a ridging anticyclone-coastal low weather pattern. Over Cape Columbine (33°S), there is a wind shadow with cyclonic wind and current shear. Composite atmospheric profiles reveal a 4°C temperature inversion near 500 m that traps a coastal wind jet >6 m/s below 200 m. The composite shelf oceanography shows a relic upwelling plume below 10 m overtopped by warmer water near the coast, providing the thermal stratification needed for biotic aggregation. Data from the IPSL5 coupled climate model over the period 1980–2080 indicates that environmental conditions favoring red tides may become more frequent.