Centre for in situ Observational Oceanography

Early Retroflection
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Early retroflection is when the Agulhas Current turns back on itself and joins with the Agulhas Return Current before reaching what is considered to be the proper retroflection region. This early retroflection can sometimes be caused by a Natal pulse, if it grows large enough to interact with the Agulhas Return Current meander over the Agulhas Plateau (van Leeuwen and de Ruijter, 2000). The core of the Agulhas Current may be forced so far offshore by the pulse that the trajectory of the current is influenced by the shallower topography of the Agulhas Plateau, resulting in an upstream retroflection (Lutjeharms and de Ruijter, 1996).


  • Lutjeharms, J. R. E. and de Ruijter, W. P. M. (1996). The influence of the Agulhas Current on the adjacent coastal ocean: possible impacts of climate change. Journal of Marine Systems, 7, 321-336.
  • van Leeuwen, P. J. and de Ruijter, W. P. M. (2000). Natal Pulses and the formation of Agulhas Rings. Journal of Geophysical Research, 105 (C3), 6425-6436.