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From 25 to 27 September, 2018, Georges-Noel  Longandjo attended the AGU Chapman conference on Hydrologic Research in the Congo Basin, where he co-chaired a session on Tropical rainbelts. He also took this opportunity to present a poster entitled: “ Central Africa Low: Identification, seasonal evolution, variability and its influence on regional climate: ”. The goal of the Chapman Conference on Hydrologic Research in the Congo Basin was for attendees to create new partnerships and then to use these collaborations to make new scientific discoveries in the Congo basin, one of the understudy regions in the world. Afterwards he was invited at Florida State University to do  a research visit at Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science Department to work with Prof. Sharon Nicholson from September to November 2018. Prof. Sharon Nicholson is a worldwide renowned professor working on Africa climate.


From right to left: Prof Rong Fu, UCLA, USA; Dr Amin Dezfuli, NASA, USA and Dr Georges-Noel T. Longandjo, NT Center UCT


Heriniaina Juliano Dani Ramanantsoa participated in the “fifty year anniversary celebration” of the Fisheries and Marine Sciences Institute (IH.SM) of Toliara (Madagascar). This was an international conference focusing on the local oceanography and fisheries management, held from 23 Oct to 26 Oct 2018.  Juliano represented the Nansen-Tutu Center during the celebration and the conference. During his talk, he shared the results of his work from research conducted over the last five years. The work that Juliano presented  relate to the dynamics of the ocean surrounding the south of Madagascar. The minister of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of Madagascar (Honorable Augustin Andriamananoro) and the vice-Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Madagascar (Honorable Christian Ralijaona) were present during the conference.  It was an opportunity for increasing the visibility of the Nansen Tutu Center to local partners in Madagascar, and to introduce an approach relating to how scientific results, particularly physical oceanography, can be integrated into stakeholders’ decisions relating to coastal, marine and fisheries management.


top: Juliano during his presentation.

Left:  Panel discussion on “Integrating potential marine scientific collaboration for Madagascar” with Prof Weydong Wu,  First Institute Oceanography of China); Zao Zu, University of Qingdao; Juliano Ramanantsoa, Nansen Tutu Center;  John Bemiasa, IOC-UNESCO Africa.

Heriniaina Juliano Dani Ramanantsoa was awarded his PhD in Oceanography. His thesis Title is: Variability of Coastal Upwelling South Of Madagascar. Juliano Ramanantsoa holds a Masters in Applied Oceanology from the University of Toliara, Madagascar, and a Masters in Remote Sensing and Disaster Risk from University of La Reunion, France. He joined the Department of Oceanography at UCT in 2015 for his PhD. Juliano Ramanantsoa’s thesis has used multisensors of satellite observations, data sets from cruise measurements, including current data from the Fridtjof Nansen, existing historical data, as well as ocean model simulations to investigate the variability of coastal upwelling and its associated forcing mechanisms that nourishes marine wildlife and fisheries at the south of Madagascar. Juliano’s research reveals the existence of two separate coastal upwelling  cells which have different variabilities due to the different forcings dominating each Core. Both Cores are induced by winds on the coastal zone, and are significantly influenced by ocean currents from the east and west of Madagascar. While investigating the influences of ocean currents to the upwelling, the study identifies a previously unrecognized ocean current recently named the South-west MAdagascar Coastal Current (SMACC). The study further describes the downstream impact of the SMACC to the coastal upwelling and to the ocean circulation at the south of Madagascar.


Web Teledyne Slocum glide


 Kongsberg Seaglider

The gliders are back in the Agulhas Current as part of the  GINA (Gliders in the Agulhas) initiative. The glider observations collected this year are a direct contribution to the CAPTOR Project (Connectivity And disPersal beTween prOtected aReas) which aims to investigate the importance of of Marine Protected Areas for the preservation of the marine ecosystem. Gliders are autonomous robotic platforms which silently move through the ocean between the surface and depths of up to 1000m. Sensors onboard the gliders are measuring variables such as pressure, temperature, salinity, ocean currents as well as biological variables relevant to the abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton or ecologically important chemical variables such as dissolved oxygen. The data is sent in real time to servers on land using satellite communications and all glider operations and piloting are overseen by a team of technicians and engineers located at Sea Technology Services in Cape Town. The measurements undertaken by the gliders are collected at the inshore edge of the Agulhas Current to investigate how the current variability impacts on the surrounding ocean ecosystem. Despite not being deployed in the Agulhas Current proper, the gliders experienced strong currents this year with flow speeds often in excess of 2 knots. GINA is a multi-institutional project led by Dr. M. Krug (CSIR-NRE and NT Center) and funded by CSIR-NRE (SOCCO), SAEON , SAIAB, University of Gothenburg, DAFF, DEA ,ORI, UCT, Nansen-Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research and the NRF Sarchi chair on Ocean Atmosphere Interaction


Map of Odyssea Sea Surface Temperature on the 9/10/2018. Overlaid are the trajectories followed by the gliders during the GINA 2018 deployments. The grey lines show completed deployments while the blue line shows the path of the active glider which is heading towards Port Elizabeth.

The Nansen Tutu Center came in force to the 34 annual conference of the South African Society for Atmospheric Science in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal during 20 to 21 September 2018 and hosted by University of KwaZulu-Natal.  Mathieu Rouault was the keynote speaker on “Ocean atmosphere interaction and its role on the weather and climate of Southern Africa” while Arielle Stela Nkwinkwa Njouodo got the prize of the best student oral presentation for “Atmospheric signature of the Agulhas Current”. Incidentally the eponymous paper published this year in Geophysical Research Letters by Arielle and co-authors Mathieu Rouault and Shunya Koseki and Noel Keenlyside from University of Bergen was awarded the Stanley Jackson award for best pee reviewed paper. The Nansen Tutu center has now won that award for three years in a raw.  Runner up to the best oral presentation was Marie-Lou Bachèlery while Folly Serge Tomety and George Noel Tiersmondo Longandjo presentations were well noted in the student category. At last, Bellinda Monyela poster drew a lot of attention

Juliano Dani Ramanantsoa, a researcher at the Nansen-Tutu Center, spent one week in Bergen, Norway. During this time, he visited between NERSC and IMR research institutions, especially Johnny Johanessen (NERSC) and Mareck Ostrowski (IMR). The main purpose of the visit was to present his research outputs from his PhD  to the Norwegians oartners in Bergen. The presentation  focused on the variability of coastal upwelling at the south of Madagascar and the results obtained from the Dr Fridtjof Nansen oceanographic cruise campaign undertaken by Norwegian researchers in 2008 and 2009, respectively, on the east and west coast of Madagascar


The second objective was a scientific discussion for potential research collaborations on further investigating ocean circulation around Madagascar. The first attempt of the collaboration would be to find possibilities to increase the passage of the Dr Fridtjof Nansen more often in the Exclusive Economique Zone of Madagascar for a scientific purpose. The second proposition of collaboration would be to enhance the representation of Nansen-Tutu Center in other African countries, for instance in Madagascar, especially at the Marine Sciences Institute (IHSM) in Toliara


As part of his Masters work, Michael Hart-Davis spent two months in Bergen, Norway. During this time, Michael worked closely with his Norwegian supervisor Dr Mostafa Bakhoday-Paskyabi at NERSC. Michael completed a large amount of work relating to his Master’s thesis on Particle Trajectory Modelling in the Agulhas Current System. The seminar he presented was entitled “Particle trajectory modelling for improved understanding of the South African shelf sea meso- and submesoscale variability and applications in operational oceanography”, During his stay, Michael focused on implementing boundary conditions as well as different stochastic motion characteristics into his Particle Trajectory Model. This research required a lot of reading and long evenings for Michael to understand and further implement. Furthermore, during this time Michael submitted a conference proceedings co-authored by Dr Backeberg and Dr Bakhoday-Paskyabi, which was later accepted. He then visited the University of Utrecht and his host, Dr Erik van Sebille for two weeks at the end of his stay in Bergen. As a member and contributor of the OceanParcels team run by Dr van Sebille, Michael continued on work on his Master’s, focusing on implementation of tools developed and learning more about particle tracking. During his stay, Michael worked closely with all members of the OceanParcels team.

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Michael enjoying the sunset in Bergen

As part of his PhD work, Bernardino Nhantumbo spent three months in Bergen, Norway. The trip allowed him to get a closer guidance from his Norwegian supervisor Dr. Jan Even Nilsen and to interact with other scientists at the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center . The guidance was with respect to the physical oceanography component of his PhD study, in particular on contributions of sea level variability and change, including the influence of regional steric and dynamic effects. Bernardino presented the current status of his work to the Nansen Scientific Society  board meeting. During the week of 02-06 July 2018, he attended the Sea Level Futures Conference held at the University of Liverpool, Central Teaching Hub (Liverpool, United Kingdom). The conference discussed the current status of our knowledge of sea level science, having covered mainly aspects of the global, regional and coastal sea level rise and variability, and was also part of the celebration of the 85th anniversary of the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level . In the same week he participated in the 6th ECRA (European Climate Research Alliance) Sea Level Change and Coastal Impacts CP Meeting (02 July 2018), and the Tidal Analysis training course (05-06 July 2018), at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). His contribution to the conference was fulfilled by a poster presentation titled “Drivers and trends of sea level variability along the east and south coast of South Africa”. The Nansen Scientific Society fully funded his trip to Bergen and the attendance to the conference, for which he is grateful.

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Congratulation to Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue for being awarded his PhD with straight A. Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue, from Cameroon, advanced knowledge on Benguela Niños, an oceanographic phenomenon in the South Atlantic detrimental to society as their affect Fisheries and rainfall pretty much like El Nino in the Pacific. Anicet thesis is paving the way for forecasting those events as well as their cold counterpart the Benguela Niñas

Bjorn Backeberg went to NERSC Bergen for two weeks to work with the ocean modelling team on nesting HYCOM 2.2.98 into the operational Mercator global ocean analysis and forecast system and assist with the co-supervision of Michael Hart-Davis, who is working with his NERSC co-supervisor Mostafa Bakhoday-Paskyabi.

Marie-Lou Bachelery visited the Norwegian collaborators in Bergen from the 12th to the 21 of June 2018. She met Thomas Toniazzo and Noel Keenlyside from the University of Bergen and worked on a paper with Marek Ostrowski from IMR. She also gave two seminars at IMR and the Bjerknes Centre on the “Interannual variability of the south-eastern Atlantic: forcing and low-frequency modulation".

Georges-Noel Tiersmondo Longandjo was awarded his PhD thesis In Physical Oceanography in June 2018. The thesis title is The hydroclimate variability of Central Africa: annual cycle, mechanisms, teleconnections and impacts on neighbouring regions. Georges-Noel T. Longandjo holds a Honours in Physics from University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo and a MSc in Meteorology from CRASTE, Ecole Mohammadia des Ingenieurs, University of Mohamed V, Morocco. He registered at UCT for his PhD studies in Physical Oceanography. Before joining UCT, he worked as the Remote sensing and Geographic Information System specialist in Democratic Republic of Congo . The dissertation shed light on what drives Central Africa rainfall variability at seasonal and interannual timescale. Central Africa is, climatological speaking, a poorly studied region and is considered as a knowledge gap in the understanding of tropical climate. Georges-Noel Tiersmondo Longandjo highlights the existence of a dominant cyclonic and quasi-permanent pattern in the mid and lower troposphere that drives the atmospheric large scale circulation and its associated water vapour transport, namely the Central Africa Low. In addition, a shallow zonal overturning circulation, namely the Congo Basin Cell, is driven by a near-surface land-ocean thermal contrast between the warm Central Africa landmass and relatively colder Atlantic Ocean. Further investigation outlines the Central Africa Low and land-ocean thermal contrasts as the main drivers of Central Africa rainfall, through the control of African easterly jets (AEJ) and the strength and width of Congo Basin Cell

Bergen Summer Research School  June 2018

The University of Bergen in Norway hosted their eleventh summer research school from the 11th - 21st of June which attracted about 92 PhD candidates across 41 countries. Bellinda Monyela, Serge Tomety and Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue from the Nansen Tutu Center at the University of Cape Town were part of this year's BSRS cohort. The theme for this year's summer school was entitled “Global Challenges " which aimed at exploring, understanding, and proposing sustainable responses to human challenges. These global challenges were divided into six discipline-specific courses, namely: (a) Image, Ecology & Ethics, (b) Cultural Heritage and Policy in a Digital Age, (c) Fair Priority Setting in Global Health, (d) Food and Nutrition Insecurity, (e) Gender Based Violence and (f) the role of ocean food and biomass in addressing food insecurity. All three, participated in the latter and the course focused on reviewing theoretical frameworks on: harvesting wild species from the ocean. The potential and limiting factors of mariculture to increase human food security were also discussed. Furthermore, the course explored whether it is possible to integrate mariculture and agriculture to decrease environmental footprint while increasing food security. The courses were supplemented by numerous open interdisciplinary key note addresses and debates. Some of the debates were on: higher education as a global challenge, patriarchy and gender-based violence on campus, science and ethics, Eco-critique, security in the food supply chain (business and human rights), tobacco as a global challenge etc... On a lighter note, we were welcomed by the Mayor of Bergen for reception at Haakon's Hall (national cultural monument) and UiB treated us with a whole day excursion into the Norwegian Waterscape at Folgefonn glacier and Hardanger Aqua Centre.

Symposium of the Effects of Climate Change on World’s Oceans in Washington DC USA

Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue and Folly Serge Tomety, 2 PhD students from the Nansen Tutu Center  gave oral presentations in session 7 of the 4th international symposium of the Effects of Climate Change on World’s Oceans (ECCWO) in Washington DC USA, held from the 2 – 8 June 2018. Rodrigue Anicet gave a presentation on the Role of Interannual Equatorial Kelvin wave propagations in the equatorial Atlantic on the Angola Benguela current system while Serge presented on the coastal variability and change in the Benguela Upwelling system: Decadal trend analysis. From Rodrigue Anicet “This trip gave me the opportunity one more time to present my research in front of a new audience. I met new people and discussed with interesting scientists who are working in the Benguela Upwelling System like me. I had a fruitful discussion with Dr Veronique Garcon from the French research Institute for development in France, who proposed me to contribute in their next SOLAS (Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study) event by writing a report on my research.” From Folly Serge “This trip is my first trip in my PhD project and it gave me an opportunity to present my research to an international audience. Further I met Dr  Ryan Rykaczewski who provided me useful inputs for my research.” Rodrigue and Serge also ceased this opportunity to go around Washington DC and went to see the white House.

From 07 to 11 May, 2018, Georges-Noel Tiersmondo Longandjo attended the 8th Gewex conference “Extremes and water on the Edge”, in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, where he presented a poster entitled: “ On the large-scale circulation over Central Africa and its associated water vapour budget”. This conference was preceded by Early Career Researcher Workshop “Towards Regional Information to Improve our Understanding on Weather and Climate Extreme Events” from 3-5 May 2018. The goal of the workshop was to develop a shared  vision on challenges and ways forward to enhance the generation of usable regional information for water, weather and climate extremes, and the utility of that information for users, decision makers and other stakeholders.

Marjolaine Krug met Johnny Johannessen , Fabrice Collard and Bertrand Chapron in  Italy  to attend and present their work at the ESA SeaSAR2018 workshop which was held at ESA-ESRIN, Italy, on 07-10 May 2018. She presented  "Signature of the Agulhas Current in Synthetic Aperture Radar derived wind fields Remote Sensing of Environment" done in collaboration with Fabrice Colalrd , Mathieu Rouault, Daniel Shilperoort and Morten Hansen from NERSC. More info and meeting abstract  here

Marjolaine Krug attended the 21st Session of the GCOS/GOOS/WCRP Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC-21) in Mar del Plata, Argentina between the 13-18 March 2018 as part of her duties on the OOPC panel and the 2nd IndOOS Review Workshop on March 22 and 23, 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. There were 45 participants, including a Review Board of six, lead authors, IORP and SIBER members, and local observers. Marjolaine Krug was one of the review board member seen below  with NT center board member Juliet Hermes from SAEON, Lisa Biel from RSMAS and Colleen Moloney from UCT

Johnny Johannessen visited Cape Town In April 2018 to teach Operational Oceanography for the Master in Applied Oceanography at the University of Cape Town and to have strategic meetings with Mathieu Rouault and Bjorn Backberg

Marielou Bachelery, Mathieu Rouault and Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue travelled to Lanzarotte in April 2018, Canaries Island to attend the last Preface conference and present theur work where they met Norwegian collaborator Noel Keenlysisde from UiB and Marek Ostrowski from IMR

The Nansen Tutu Center together with French partners from ICEMASA are making headlines with the discovery of a new current in Madagascar by PHD student Juliano Dani Ramanantsoa and co-authors. Check Highlight in EOS here and the video in here. Paper available for download here. "Revealing the existence of the new coastal current is an important discovery for South Africa as it adds to our understanding of the global ocean circulation and brings new insights about biological connectivity between Madagascar and South African marine regions," said CSIR senior researcher and Nansen Tutu research associate Dr Marjolaine Krug. The discovery forms part of Heriniaina Juliano Dani Ramanantsoa's PhD, Variability of coastal upwelling south of Madagascar, which Krug supervised. More info here

Marel Ostrowski from IMR visited the Nansen Tutu Center in April 2018 to work with Mathieu Rouault on a paper and with Issufo Halo on another one and also to prepare the visit of Marielou Bachelerie,  Juliano Dani and Tumelo Maja at IMR, Bergen in 2018. Marek had just spent a few weeks aboard the Fridjof Nansen in the Mozambique Channel. He also worked on a collaborative Norway RSA proposal on the blue economy. Seen with Marek on the right are Marielou Bachelerie and Tumelo Maja in Mathieu Rouault office.

Nansen Tutu Center seminar serie no 2: Upwellings   0930 to 1200 Friday 9 of March 2018,  University of Cape Town. in the Niven Library  Download program here

Arielle Stela Nkwinkwa Njouodo and Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue went to the Ocean Sciences Meeting 2018 in Oregon, Portland, USA  from 11 to 16 February 2018. Arielle presented a poster on ''Turbulent Latent heat flux in the Agulhas Current''in the session “Air-Sea Exchange Processes in Western Boundary Current Systems”. She took part to the Early Career Scientist workshops on Big Data, Grant Writing, and Science Communication. During the Conference, Arielle met Noel Keenlyside, her advisor from Norway, to discuss her PhD. She had some good interactiosn with scientists working on Air-Sea interaction such as Mark Bourassa from Florida State University, Meghan Cronin from NOAA, Larry O'Neil from Oregon State University and Rhys Parfitt from Woods Hole . Arielle says that Ocean Sciences Meeting is definitely a conference to go for early Scientists, precisely PhD student, in other to meet experts in a scientific community.

The Nansen Tutu Center participated actively to the EAF-Nansen Program workshop  that was held, 5 to 9 February in Cape Town and will now participate to the program mainly on Benguela Ninos and Impact of Congo River on Marine ecosystem .

The Nansen Tutu Center seminar serie no 1 on Role of the Ocean on Southern African Rainfall was held Friday 2 of February 2018 in the Oceanography Department seminar room at University of Cape Town and was attended by 50 people. Speakers were invited to a lunch with senior members of the Nansen Tutu Center at the UCT club Download program here

Thomas Toniazzo from Unires and University of Bergen visited the Nansen Tutu Center in December 2017 after a grueling radiosonde launch campaign in the Benguela upwelling in November December 2017 aboard the Fridtjof Nansen as part of the Nansen program in gale force Southeasterly wind. he launched 60 radiosondes to better understand the structure of the strong wind that drives the upwelling there. After the cruise, as it is was not enough, he rented a cheap car and drove all the way to Luderitz to meet local scientist and collect weather station data. After the visit of the Nansen Tutu Center  in Cape Town. Thomas spent Xmas eve with the Rouault family and was given a box of chocolate.


Nansen Tutu mini Symposium to celebrate Walter Munk 100 anniversary: 7 December 900 to 1600.

Download program here

6th board meeting 8 December 2017 1000 Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town

Norwegians visitors, Nansen Tutu students and staff at the Nansen Tutu  symposium

Mathieu Rouault and Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue went to Fortaleza Brazil in November 2017 to attend the PIRATA  20 anniversary PREFACE CLIVAR PIRATA symposium. They gave oral presention and while Anicet also attended the summer school Mathieu was a lecturer.

From 16th to 20th of October 2017, Bernardino Nhantumbo attended the C-Rise training course at Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Maputo, Mozambique. Bernardino assisted the other trainees and helped with translation. He presented results on “Obtaining optimal continuous tide gauge records”, one of his PhD chapters. The challenge that arises when combining in situ and satellite altimetry data is how to deal with different references involved. This is a crucial step to successfully validate local satellite altimetry measurements, one of the C-Rise project’s objectives. C-RISe is a 3-year project funded by the UK Space Agency through the International Partnership programme, working with local partners to deliver a Coastal Risk Information service to South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar. C-Rise project through the UK Space Agency budget supported attendance for which Bernardino is grateful.

Anicet and Arielle spent two weeks in the Canaries Island to attend the 2017 GODAE summer school. Also seen on the picture is Martin Visbeck from GEOMAR , one of the lecturer. we thanks the organisors for sponsoring Arielle and Anicet attendance to the summer school.

Marie-Lou Bachèlery recently joined the Nansen-Tutu Centre. She is currently working with Mathieu Rouault and Serena Illig from ICEMASA as a Nansen tutu post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Oceanography of the University of Cape Town for a duration of 2 years. Her research encompasses physical oceanography, coastal processes and numerical modeling (high regional oceanic simulations) in coastal and open ocean regions as well as the inter-comparison of observations (satellites and in-situ data). She is mainly interested in the regional variability of the South-Eastern Atlantic Ocean with a special focus on the Benguela Upwelling System. Her research apprehends equatorial dynamics and its connection with the coastal variability off the coasts of Angola, Namibia, and South-Africa at the interannual and decadal scale.

Marjolaine Krug gave an invited presentation at the the international ocean glider training course held between 28 May to 2 June 2017 at the University of Gothenburg field station in Kristineberg. The station was about 1.5 hours north of Gothenburg on the beautiful Swedish West Coast, while a portion of course  included field work activities (transit to open ocean to deploy and retrieve gliders) that took place on the research vessel Skagerak.

New member on OOPC panel:

Dr. Marjolaine Krug was invited to serve on the GCSO/GOOS/WCRP Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC). Dr. Krug attended in the OOPC twentieth session of the panel which was held in the Wodds Hole Oceanographic Institution USA between the 14 and 17 March 2017. The OOPC is a scientific expert advisory group tasked with making recommendations for a sustained global ocean observing system, in support of WCRP, GOOS, and GCOS climate objectives. Dr Krug’s duties as part of the OOPC mandate include making recommendations for coordinated shelf-sea/deep-ocean observatories as well as contributing towards a strategy document for better observations of Air/Sea fluxes.

Ocean Observations Panel for Climate gathers in Woods Hole

Reports from the 3rd GlobCurrent User Consultation Meeting:

Dr. Marjolaine Krug gave a presentation on the “Dynamics and variability of the Agulhas Current”at the 3rd GlobCurrent User Consultation Meeting. The GlobCurrent meeting which was held at ESRIN on 21, 22 and 23 March 2017 summarised the achievement of the now finalised GlobCurrent project. The GlobCurrent project aimed to improve global and regional products of ocean surface currents relevant to both scientific and commercial users. For a short video overview of the GlobCurrent project click here

Nansen-Tutu researchers gain visibility at the IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Conference:

The Nansen Tutu and Norwegian collaborators where in full force at the 2017 International IAPSO IAMAS-IAGA Conference in Cape Town. The  IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Conference was one of the largest oceans and climate conference ever held in South Africa. The Joint Assembly, endorsed by the University of Cape Town and the South African Department of Science and Technology, took place from 27 August to 1 September 2017 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). Marjolaine Krug convened IAPSO Session P06 on Western Boundary Current Systems while Noel Keenlyside convened IAMAS Session M20 on the Role of Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions in Climate Variability, Change and Predictability. Bjorn Backeberg, Marjolaine Krug, Mathieu Rouault and PhD students Arielle Stela Nkwinkwa Njouodo, Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue, George Noel Tiersmondo Longandjo all gave one or two oral presentations each. The Nansen Tutu Center sponsored some of the students fees and its logo was displayed at conference gaining visibility at the international level.

Dr Issofu Halo represented the Nansen Tutu Centre at the high level New Era of Blue Enlightenment Conference in Lisbon.

On the 13th of july 2017 the European Union, Brazil and South Africa signed the Belém Statement, an agreement for research and innovation in the Atlantic Ocean. The statement was signed in Lisbon's historic Belém Tower. The Nansen Tutu Centre was also mentionned during the Preface and PIRATA presentation. Known as the Belém Statement, the agreement outlines ways that countries can develop their understanding of the South Atlantic, from food security to climate change and ocean currents. One of its objective is to enhance ocean observations in the Atlantic through pooling resources and knowledge and make sure ecosystems that are under pressure have the support needed for their protection. Conference was attended by Science minister Naledi Pandor

Nansen Tutu Center board member Isabelle Ansorge.

Arielle Stela Nkwinkwa Njouodo went to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen in Norway.

Her visit lasted for 3 months, from 24th March to 19th June 2017.  She worked under the supervision of Prof. Noel Keenlyside and Prof. Johnny Johannessen, to complete work started during her visit in 2016 on the impact of the Agulhas on the Atmosphere and Climate of South Africa. The trip was sponsored by the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen. Arielle gave one seminar in UIB on ''the role of the Agulhas current on the climate and weather of South Africa“. This work is a part of her PhD study, entitled ''The role of the Agulhas current on Weather and Climate of South Africa. Arielle would like to acknowledge and thank the Geophysical Institute researchers and students who helped her to settle in Bergen and the Nansen Tutu Center for this opportunity. During her stay in Europe, Arielle had been to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy from 5th to 9th June 2017 for the ICTP/ECMWF/Univ. L'Aquila Workshop on OpenIFS. More can be read on This trip was funded by ICTP and was the occasion  for her to meet ECMWF scientists, and learn more about the ECMWF forecast model and research. Arielle would like to thank the ICTP and the ECMWF  for providing this great opportunity.

Arielle with Glenn Carver from ECMWF

Dr Björn Backeberg visited NERSC from 5-23 June 2017.

During the first week he attended a crash course on data assimilation organised by NERSC. 22 students from 13 countries world-wide participated in the course and 11 lecturers from Norway, USA, Demark, Finland and UK taught on practical application as well as theoretical foundations. For more information see:


During the next 2 weeks, he worked closely with Dr Francois Counillon and Dr Annette Samuelsen updating the data assimilative HYCOM of the greater Agulhas system. A new version of the HYCOM source code was implemented and is in the process of being tested. Capitalising on the EnKF developments done by Counillon et al. (2014) and Wang et al. (2017), the EnOI code was updated. New tests are being run to evaluate the performance of the upgrades.

Issofu halo visited NERSC  from 27 March to 15 April 2017.

The aims of this visit were:

  • Discuss with Dr. Roshin Raj from NERSC and Dr. Marek Owstroski from IMR, the way forward on the on-going study in understanding the mesoscale eddy variability within the Angola Basin using daily satellite altimetry dataset, Argo-floats and in-situ hydrographic data.

  • Access the hydrographic dataset from IMR database collected by the Research Vessel (RV) Dr. Fridtjof Nansen across the south of Madagascar coast.

  •  Discuss the modelling strategy being used to simulate the mesoscale ocean currents in the region south of Madagascar in a idealized scenario where the Madagascar Ridge has been removed. The results are being used in a joint publication currently in progress.


Isufo presented two seminars at IMR “Eddy Variability in the Mozambique Channel” and at NERSC  “Influence of the Madagascar Ridge on oceanic

Mesoscale Eddies in a Regional Ocean Model”.

In addition few projects tarted based on this research visit, namely:

  • Evaluation of the ROMS Africa model outputs for the Western Indian Ocean.

  • Quantification of frequency of occurrence of eddy topography interaction at Vemma seamount in the southeast Atlantic. The aim is to contribute towards a paper in progress being led by Dr. Owstroski from IMR, which addresses the role of such eddy-topography interaction on marine biological productivity around Vemma seamount.

  • Potential involvement of Dr. Raj in a supervision of students based at Cape-Peninsula University of Technology, on evaluation of the along-track dataset from the recently realeased altimetry product for coastal application derived from PISTACHE project, for the Agulhas Current region.

6 June 2017


Two Seagliders and an SV3 waveglider were deployed off Cape Town as part of the sea trials for GINA. During the sea trials, the glider platforms and all the sensors on the platforms were checked for any malfunctions. The gliders performed well and Seaglider 574 was identified as the best Seaglider for The GINA (Gliders in the Agulhas) experiment whose Principal Inverstigator is Marjolaine Krug. Learn more about GINA here

Johnny Johannessen from NERSC visited Cape Town in May to lecture Operational Oceanography in the new Master of Applied Oceanography of the dept of Oceanography at University of Cape town. Bjorn Backeberg and Marjolaine Krug also lectured in the module that was convened by Johnny. Johnny and Mathieu went then to Pretoria to convene a session on Ocean Dynamic  at the 37th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment and they also gave two talks each. program of the session available here

Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue  and Arielle Stella Nkwinkwa Njouado presented posters on their PhD work at the EGS annual conference in Vienna. Arielle presented "Atmospheric signature of the Agulhas Current" and Noel Keenlyside co-author of the poster is seen on the photo on the right together with Peter Brandt collaborator in the Preface project. Rodrigue presented "Role of Interannual Kelvin wave propagations in the equatorial Atlantic on the Angola Benguela current system" and was sponsored by IRD ICEMASA to attend EGS while Arielle was sponsored by University of Bergen.

The Nansen Tutu Center was evaluated in a high profile attendance meeting the 18 of April by a delegation of internal and external reviewers as well as deputy vice chancellor in charge of research, dean of science and numerous represent of the research office. Bjorn and Mathieu had some presentation before being grilled by the panel for an hour and Anicet and Bernardino shared their feeling about the Nansen Tutu Center. At the same time we are also being evaluated by the Nansen Center in Bergen and a report was send there to that matter Agenda

Together with SEAON and the CSIR, the Nansen-Tutu Centre hosted the 5th GODAE OceanView Coastal Ocean and Shelf Seas Task Team (COSS-TT) International Coordination Meeting (COSS-ICM5).

The mission goal of the Coastal Ocean and Shelf Seas Task Team (COSS-TT) is to work in coordination with GOVST and GOOS towards the provision of a sound scientific basis for sustainable multidisciplinary downscaling and forecasting activities in the world coastal oceans. The task team fosters international collaboration to advance science and applications on coastal and shelf dynamics, open ocean processes that control shelf break exchanges, as well as land-sea interactions through estuaries and inlets.

50 international scientists attended the meeting which was held at the Breakwater Lodge in Cape Town from 3-7 April 2017. Dr Marjolaine Krug (a Nansen-Tutu Centre Associate Researcher) gave an invited keynote presentation on the “Challenges of observing coastal ocean and shelf sea processes”, highlighting the need for enhanced state-of-the-art observation systems such as gliders and satellite remote sensing capabilities in order coherently observe important dynamic processes affecting the coastal ocean and shelf sea evident in South Africa’s Exclusive Economic Zone.


More info


Gliders were deployed for the first time in the Agulhas Current region to investigate processes of interactions between current and shelf waters. Continuous observations from the gliders in water depths of 100–1000 m and over a period of 1 month provide the first high-resolution observations of the Agulhas Current’s inshore front. The observations  show the presence of submesoscale cyclonic eddies, generated at the inshore boundary of the Agulhas Current. The submesoscale cyclones are often associated with warm water plumes, which extend from their western edge and exhibit strong northeastward currents. 


Read paper here

also read report by Science Magazine here

Estee Vermeulen, Master’s student in Physical Oceanography at the University of Cape Town returned to South Africa on the 21st of December 2016 from Bergen. She was stationed at the Nansen Environmental Marine Centre under the supervision of Dr. Knut Liãster who helped with her MSc project entitled, “Investigating the relationship between volume transport and sea surface height in the Agulhas Current using the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model’’. The aim of the project is to create an Agulhas transport proxy using model SSH. Estee completed two courses at the University of Bergen, Dynamics of the Ocean and Atmosphere and Energy Systems and Resources, being very fond of the renewable energy field. She organized a small energy conference at the Geophysical Institute with participating guest speakers from BKK Hyrdropower, Statoil and Greenstat. She also attended the Time-series Environmental analysis conference at the Arctic University in Tromsø and presented a poster on transport variability of the Agulhas Current in HYCOM. Estee did not only work during her time in Norway, but also explored the beauty of the fjords and mountains. “I caught a glimpse of the Northern lights during my visit to Tromsø, and had a blast skiing down the Folgefonna Glacier”. Estee’s exchange semester was sponsored by the bilateral South Africa Norway SANCOOP SCAMPI project. She would like to acknowledge and thank all whom contributed towards this amazing experience​

Report of visit by Arielle Stela Nkinkwa Njouodo at University of Bergen

​From 24th August to 13th November 2016 Arielle Stela Nkwinkwa Njouodo went to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen in Norway. She worked under the supervision  of Prof. Johnny Johannessen and Prof. Noel Keenlyside, sponsored by the bilateral South Africa Norway SANCOOP SCAMPI project as part of her PhD study, entitled ''The role of the Agulhas current on Weather and Climate of South Africa. Her PhD aim is to determine the influence of the warm waters from the Agulhas current on the Climate and Weather of South Africa. Arielle gave two seminars in UIB on ''the role of the Agulhas current on the climate and weather of South Africa “During my stay in Bergen, I was impressed by the landscape. I experienced the end of the summer, the rainy days, the fall and the beginning of the winter, sometimes with temperatures equal to -6 degree Celsius. I enjoyed the beauty of the nature in Bergen'' commented Arielle. Arielle would like to acknowledge and thank the Geophysical Institute researchers and students who helped her to settle in Bergen and the Nansen Tutu Center for [providing this great opportunity. She also wants to thanks the SAANCOOP SCAMPI project for providing the funding of his trip.

24  November
Directors of Bangladesh, India, Russia, South Africa and China Nansen "satellitte" Center gathered in Bergen for the celbration of the 30 anniversary of the Nansen Center. Two days of high level scientific presentation where followed by a Gala dinner. Thanks you very much. It was fun and interesting. More info
  Link to presentations and agenda
7  November
Students from India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Cameron, Russia and Norway are spending this week learning how to predict the oceans through Operational Oceanography at the Indo-Norwegian Winter School in Hyderabad. As the oceans hold potential to be part of the solution to many of the challenges of our time, predicting the state of the ocean is valuable knowledge. Seen on the picture above are Bernardino Nanthumbo for the Nansen Tutu Center as well as Fehmi Dilmahamod,  Majambo Gamoyo and Daneeja Mawren from the University of Cape Townthat attended the summer school thanks to a grant from the Nansen Center. More info

Beginning of phase 3 of the Nansen Tutu Center signed during the Norway South Africa scince week

3  November
Start of Phase 3 for the Nansen Tutu Center. It was signed during the South Africa Norway Science week.
From 31 October - 4 November
South Africa - Norway Science Week focusing on "Value Creation in Ocean Space - New Opportunities in the Blue Economy".


Science Week 2016 will bring together key players from higher education, research, innovation, and business in the two countries with the objective to forge relationships and encourage collaboration between academia and industry across national borders. Ocean space and the blue economy is a strategic priority for both countries, and the challenges and opportunities derived from these strategies provide a fertile basis for innovation and business development. Ongoing research and entrepreneurial activities at universities offers ample access to relevant intellectual property and human resources.Science Week 2016 is open to everybody interested in expanding or promoting the relationship between our two countries and it is totally free of charge but registration is essential  More info

17 october 2016:  


Welcome to South Africa Thomas Toniazzo from Uni Research Climate, Bergen.

Thomas is visiting the Nansen Tutu Center to work with Mathieu Rouault on modeling the Benguela Jet of Luderitz as part of the Preface project. He will stay here for 3 weeks.

4  october 2016:  


Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Kounge left today to Brazil to join a experimental cruise on the RV Meteor that will lead him from Brazil to  the Angola Benguela current system, location of his thesis on Benguela Nino. He will join his Norwegian thesis advisor Marek Ostrowski from IMR and spend a month on the vessel and chief scientist Peter Brandt who sponored Rodrigue participation via the SACUS program. This is also part of the PREFACE project.



1 october 2016:  Bjorn Backeberg is back from China

Bjorn attended the 1st BRICS Workshop on Operational Oceanography took place in September 26 – 28 hosted by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics , Chinese Academy of Sciences with the attendance of representatives from China, South Africa, Russia and Brazil. The BRICS framework envisages a number of actions focusing on strategic research themes.  The present workshop under the BRICS theme on Ocean and Polar Sciences focused on the construction of a strategic plan that aims to provide a framework for future collaborative projects in operational oceanography and related areas. It  dealt with important issues such as capacity building and technological and scientific development in operational oceanography and physical oceanography. Read Bjorn presentation.

15 August 2016:  Mathieu Rouault appointed co-director of the Nansen Tutu Center

Mathieu Rouault was research director of the Nansen Tutu Center for Marine Environmental research in Cape Town and staff member since inception. He is a principal reserach offcier with title of associate professor in the Dept. of Oceanography  at University of Cape Town where he started as senior research officer in 1992. His research encompass all aspects of ocean atmosphere interaction from numerical modelling to experimental work at sea, from meteorology and physical oceanography to climatology and now the impact of climate change and variability on marine ecosystems and water resource.  He is also president of the Southern Africa Society for Atmospheric Sciences and he is involved in the international CLIVAR project as a former member of the CLIVAR Atlantic panel. He is giving ocean atmosphere interaction class at University of Cape Town at the Master and Honors level.

3 August 2016: Daniel Shilperoort gets his Master


Daniel Shilperoort was awarded his Master. He was co-advised by Marjolaine Krug in South Africa and Morten Hansen in Norway. He spent 3 months in Norway at the Nansen Center and participated to the 2015 SASAS Conference in Pretoria and the 2015 satellite remote sensing workshop in Brest France. A paper is in the making. Daniel used SAR wind estimate and GlobCurrent surface current estimate to look at wind modification above the Agulhas Current. He shows wind increase of around 50 % above the current, way more than former studies using QuikSCAT.

Report of visit by Arielle Stela Nkwinkwa Njouodo to University of Bergen (UIB), Norway

From 15th to 29th June 2016, Arielle Stela Nkwinkwa Njouodo from Cameroon, currently doing a PHD at the Nansen Tutu Center for Marine environmental research, Dept. of Oceanography, University of Cape Town went to the University of Bergen to take part to the Bergen Summer Research School for the course ''Poverty, climate change and water in the context of SDGs''. This course had for course leaders Noel Keenlyside and Alberto D. Cimadamore. She took this opportunity to visit the Geophysical Institute (UIB) under the supervision of Prof. Noel Keenlyside to discuss ongoing and future research collaboration between South African and Norwegian researchers. This trip was sponsored by South Africa's National Research Foundation through the SCAMPI project of SANCOOP. The aim of her PhD study is ''on the role of the Agulhas current on climate, weather and river of South Africa''. She presented her work on ''the annual cycle of ocean-atmosphere interaction above the Agulhas Current'' at UiB . Arielle would like to thanks the SAANCOOP SCAMPI project for providing the funding of her trip.

New master of Oceanography at UCT

Applications are open for the  Applied Ocean Sciences (AOS) Master of Science hosted by the Marine Research Institute (Ma-Re) at the University of Cape Town.

The MSc degree in Applied Ocean Sciences aims to produce marine professionals with a strong academic foundation who are knowledgeable about the major topics in interdisciplinary ocean sciences.

This course will provide academic and technical skills to deal with the most applied aspects of oceanography and marine biology. It is designed for both recent graduates as well as those with several years’ experience and who wish to work in the ocean services sector, with a focus on operational and conservation activities and other aspects of the Blue Economy. This is achieved by exposing the students to a range of disciplines, to provide them with the requisite skills to carry out research and to use the products of research.

The course also reinforces essential skills such as scientific communication, numeracy and analytical thinking, and  demonstrates the ability to perform independent research through the project component.

DEADLINES for 2017 applicants:  International students: 31 August 2016,  South Africans: 30 September 2016

Download flyer:

For course details and how to apply:

Report of visit by Rodrigue Anicet Imbol Koungue to IMR, Bergen, Norway

From 06 April to 01 July, 2016, Rodrigue Anicet IMBOL KOUNGUE from Cameroon, currently doing a PHD at the Nansen Tutu Center for Marine environmental research, Dept. of Oceanography, University of Cape Town visited the Institute of Marine Research Institut (IMR), in Bergen, Norway sponsored by the bilateral South Africa Norway SANCOOP SCAMPI project as part of his PhD study, entitled “Study of the Tropical South East Atlantic circulation with a focus on Benguela niño and niña”. His PhD aims to determine the mechanisms associated with Benguela Niños and Niñas and look at the possibility to predict these extreme events. Rodrigue Anicet is co-advised in Norway by Marek OSTROWSKI from IMR in Bergen.


The trip gave him an opportunity to discuss with specialists of Ocean-Atmosphere interactions at the Geophysical Institute (University of Bergen) such as Prof Noel Keenlyside, but also with others working in different fields.  He gave a seminar on “Role of Interannual Kelvin wave propagations in the equatorial Atlantic on the Angola Benguela current system” .


The trip also allowed Rodrigue Anicet to attend to the Bergen Summer Research School for the course ‘’ Poverty, climate change and water in the context of SDGs’’ having for course leaders Noel Keenlyside and Alberto D. Cimadamore. During the summer School, he had an excursion into the Norwegian waterscape. ‘’It was an amazing experience, we went to see the glacier at Jondal’’, from Rodrigue Anicet.     


Rodrigue Anicet would like to acknowledge and thank the IMR researchers and emphasise the great value he received from this visit. He also wants to thanks the SAANCOOP SCAMPI project for providing the funding of his trip.


A baby boy is born

Congratulation to PhD student Bernardino Nhantumbo's familiy. A baby boy is born on the 2 of may 2016. He and the mom are very well.

Report of visit by Bernardino Nhantumbo to the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre (NERSC), Bergen, Norway


UCT, 22 April 2016


From 04 March to 09 April, 2016, Bernardino Nhantumbo from Mozambique, currently doing a PHD at the Nansen Tutu Center for Marine environmental research, Dept. of Oceanography, University of Cape Town visited the NERSC, in Bergen, Norway sponsored by the bilateral South Africa Norway SANCOOP SCAMPI project as part of his PhD study, entitled “Does the variation in strength and position of the Agulhas Current induce sea level variability?”. The aim of the PHD is to find out if the Agulhas Current has an impact on coastal sea level around southern Africa and how. Bernardino is co-advise in Norway by Jan Even and Ola Johannessen from NERSC in Bergen and the trip gave him an opportunity to engage with scientists researching sea level variability and others working in different fields.

He gave a seminar on “Sea level variability and rise in southern Africa” to introduce himself and showed what he had done in his my master studies. He devised plans for the work ahead and in this way capitalise help from different scientists. Another incommensurable value the trip added was to experience snow for the first time in his life, indeed it has a great emotional value for who is from the tropics, according to Bernardino.  Bernardino would like to acknowledge and thank the NERSC researchers and emphasise the great value he received from this visit. He also wants to thanks the SAANCOOP SCAMPI project for providing the funding of his trip.

23 and 24 February 2016: The board meeting and a science day will be held in Cape Town in the seminar room of the Oceanography Dept at University of Cape Town on 23 and 24 February 2016 at the University of Cape Town. The science day will be held on 23 February where Nansen-Tutu Centre students will present their research and the Board Meeting will be held on 24 February


23 of February science and 24 of February Board meeting presentations


27 January 2016

Visit of the Norwegian Standing Committee on Education and Research



16 of January  2016

Mathieu Rouault talks on TV abouth the consequence of the current el Nino on the current drought during Carte Blanche on MNET.


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