WP 1. Observation and modelling of ocean physics and biogeochemistry supporting the ecosystem approach to marine management
The oceanic environment off West Africa is characterized by the presence of a vast and heterogeneous eastern boundary upwelling system. It is associated to shallow intense primary production with coastal maxima lying above low oxygen and nutrient-rich thermocline waters. The upwelling system strength and extension varies considerably on seasonal time scales, its overall area ranges from the northern tip of the Iberia peninsula at 43°N to south of Dakar at about 10°N, and from the coasts to the west, beyond the Cape Verde archipelago. The considerable seasonal variability, the largest of all tropical oceans, is due to changes in the wind field forcing associated with the latitudinal migration of the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ).