It’s not every day that you discover a new ocean current, but that’s exactly what one Cape Town researcher revealed recently. This previously unknown current flows between South Africa and Madagascar and was discovered by scientists at the University of Cape Town. Part of that team was Heriniaina Juliano Dani Ramanantsoa who is from Madagascar, he is working on his PhD on the Variability of coastal upwelling south of Madagascar.
This discovery is personally touching for Ramanantsoa who says “As a Malagasy who grew up along this coastline, I have an intimate relationship with the current. I grew up with this current; it was such a big part of my life. Publishing the research was a truly emotional moment in my life.”
The current flows poleward off the south-west coast of Madagascar and has been named the South-west Madagascar Coastal Current, warm and salty it is relatively shallow at 300 metres and quite narrow, with a flow of 100 kilometres. Currents play a vital role in the behaviour of fish and marine life, as well as climate patterns. They are essential for understanding more about the movements of the oceans and how we can better manage coastal and marine resources to ensure the protection of our ecosystems.
Countries have to manage their coastal and marine resources in a way that will ensure the safeguarding of ecosystems. Sustainability is closely linked to how well we manage our marine resources. The more we understand and know, the better we can manage our marine resources,” said Ramanantsoa.
The discovery of this current is very exciting in the marine science community Ramanantsoa’s supervisor Marjoliane Krug explains that “It is a rare opportunity to discover a new current in the 21st century. It is a significant finding for the global ocean community and a really amazing achievement for Juliano”
Here is a video from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) explaining how the discovery was made and what it all means.