Somalia Upwelling: What Drives The World's Strongest Seasonal Upwelling?

Back to last pageBack to Video list To next page

Ocean Science in Action - Oceans of the future

8. The world's strongest seasonal upwelling

8.2 Somalia upwelling: what drives the world strongest seasonal upwelling?

Video duration - 07:18

Off the coast of the Horn of Africa runs the fastest current of the global ocean – the seasonally reversing Somali Current. From June to September, when the monsoonal winds blow to the north-east, the world’s strongest seasonal upwelling occurs along the coastline of Somalia, bringing cool, nutrient-rich water to the surface.

Little is known about this ocean region. Somalia’s turbulent history combined with issues of maritime security have resulted in limited ship-based research expeditions, meaning there are very few in situ data available. Here, you will see how modelling and remote sensing data can provide us with powerful tools to begin unravelling the dynamics of this upwelling system.

You will learn that this upwelling occurs during the Southwest monsoon when two branches of the powerful Somali Current deviate away from the coast, initiating the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water, leading to large phytoplankton blooms. You will see that the upwelling is fairly stable and occurs every year but Earth system models indicate that the upwelling will weaken in future. Despite this, the Somali Upwelling will remain active right through to the end of the 21st century, and carry on its important role as a highly productive and relatively cool feature of the region.

Dr Zoe Jacobs - NOC

Further Reading:

Barwell, L., Bosire, J., Bourjea, J., Schleyer, M.H., Celliers, L. and Paula, J., 2018. Regional State of the Coast Report Western Indian Ocean. The United Nations Environment Programme/Nairobi Convention Secretariat.

Obura, D. et al. 2017. Reviving the Western Indian Ocean Economy: Actions for a Sustainable Future. WWF International, Gland, Switzerland. 64 pp.

Read Video transcript