Kirstin Petzer (left)., master student at the Nansen Tutu Center, Dept of Oceanography was appointed All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassadors, and will be will be working hard to expand awareness of the Atlantic Ocean and its important role as a sustainable resource and climate regulator. This initiative is part of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AANCHOR) project, which intersects the suite of European Union Atlantic projects. AANCHOR links initiatives in the European Union, Canada and the United States, and was launched with the signing of the Galway Statement in 2013.

Former alumni Dr. Arielle Stela Imbol Nkwinkwa NJouado. was featured in a publication that celebrates African female scientists on the front line of climate change science, profiling 20 women from 9 African countries. Her story is found in page 9 of the pdf.



An MSc student in Physical Oceanography from the Coastal and Marine Research Institute at Nelson Mandela University and Nansen Tutu Center graduate, Michael Hart-Davis, is the recipient of the prestigious S2A3 Masters Medal. Michael isthe first Physical Oceanographic Masters student to win the award. The S2A3 Masters’ Medalshave been awarded since 1981 by the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science to the most outstanding research student. Founded in 1902, it is the oldest scientific organisation in South Africa. Michael began his MSc thesis in January 2018 and submitted his final thesis in August 2019.  He completed two scientific publications, as a result of his original research, with a further two publications currently in review. After graduation in late 2019, Michael accepted a PhD position at the Technical University of Munich in Germany where he continues to collaborate with South African colleagues. Michael’s thesis was based on the development of a particle trajectory model for the use in several scientific applications in the Agulhas Current System. The scientific applications presented in his thesis included case studies advancing the understanding of surface ocean dynamics, studying the trajectories of sea turtles as well as juvenile lobster larvae and the development of search and rescue tools. During his Masters’ studies, Michael spent time in Bergen, Norway where he built collaborations at the University of Bergen and NERSC. His time in Bergen proved to be extremely beneficial and included presenting several seminars, attending lectures at the university and resulted in several international publications. Dr Bjorn Backeberg, who has supervised Michael since his undergraduate years in 2015, says “Michael has made incredible progress since we first started working together. He has demonstrated a remarkable ability to understand complex scientific problems and address these by overcoming some really technical challenges. It has been a real pleasure working with him, and I have no doubt that he will continue to contribute significantly to marine and ocean science in the future.”


Michael would like to thank his supervisors Dr Bjorn Backeberg, Prof Juliet Hermes, A/Prof Mostafa Bakhoday-Paskyabi and Prof Johnny Johannessen as well as the Nelson Mandela University, Nansen-Tutu Center, SAEON and the NRF for funding


The celebration of the Nansen-Tutu Center 10-year anniversary brought together around 80 researchers, Postdoctoral fellows, PhD and MSc students for a 3-days symposium on the Waterfront in Cape Town from 10-12 March 2020. Attendants came from Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar, South Africa, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Netherlands and USA. University of Cape Town, the Nansen Center, Nansen Scientific Society, University of Bergen, Institute of Marine Research, Research Council of Norway are acknowledged for their financial support. The Symposium was endorsed by CLIVAR The symposium (https://www.nansentutusymposium.com) focused on “Ocean, Weather and Climate: Science to the Service of Society” . The level of the presentations was very impressive and early career scientists from the African continent demonstrated high scientific quality of their work in a multitude of ocean, atmosphere and climate related disciplines with significant importance to societies in southern Africa. The event also included a signatory ceremony marking the launch of the 4th 3-year phase of the Nansen-Tutu Center Joint Venture Agreement from 2020 to 2022. A take-home message for the continuation into the 4th phase recommended that the Nansen-Tutu Center should play a coordinating role to initiate a training workshop for early career scientists targeting the UN Decade of Ocean Science for the sustainable development goals and to help to the development of Operational Oceanography in Southern Africa.

The Nansen Tutu TRIATLAS Summer School on Ocean, Climate and Marine Ecosystem was held at the University of Cape Town, 14-21st, January. It was a resounding success, with the participating students and early career researchers asking for new opportunities for interdisciplinary exchange. We brought together master, PhD and early career researchers together from physical and biological oceanography, and from climate research, from Brazil, Africa, and Europe. The summer school served to imitate many into the exciting field of interdisciplinary research, as needed to solve the major challenges facing the Atlantic - management of human activities impact the marine ecosystem. This is the issue being addressed by the EU H2020 TRIATLAS project. Pdf from students presentations and lectures is available online here


Marie-Lou and Serge visited Bergen for two months at NERSC. Marie-Lou worked with Annette Samuelsen within the NERSC Ocean Modelling Group on developing a new parametrisation for the biogeochemical model BioEBUS. The purpose of Serge’s visit to NERSC was to complete his PhD project on decadal variability of the Benguela Upwelling System using the output from Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) run at NERSC by Yanchun. Marie-Lou and Serge met the Norwegian Minister of International Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein at NERSC  (see attached picture1). During the meeting there were presentations and discussion about the international collaboration with the different international centers connected to the Nansen Centre.  Marie-Lou and Serge gave a Seminar. During they stay, they also had the opportunity to travel around Norway. Marie-Lou went North to see the polar lights and Serge attended two days PhD retreat organized by Noel Keenlyside’s student group where he had interesting discussion about his work and good moment of skiing. They are extremely grateful to Annette for hosting them. Also, Serge would like to thank Yanchun He, Francois Counillon, Noel Keenlyside and Shunya Koseki.

Georges-Noel Longandjo is organizing the first International Conference on Central Africa Climate and Hydrology at Universite Nouveaux Horizons, Lubumbashi, Dem. Rep. Congo on 24-25 October 2019. The goals of this event are to to bring together researchers working worldwide on Central Africa weather, Climate, Hydrology and Water resources; to foster research and education projects in this understudied region and to share the results of this activities with policy makers, practitioners and development partners and communities.  Prior to the events Georges-Noel Longandjo and other experts were invited by the World meteorological Organization (WMO) to help the national government of the Dem. Rep. Congo to enhance the climate science basis of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) activities.



Founi Mesmin Awo was invited by Marek Ostrowski IMR to present his work and attend the FAO Nansen Program workshop  in Abidjan in October 2019

Sian Seymour and Mathieu Rouault attended the 35th Annual South African Society for Atmospheric Sciences (SASAS) Conference was held at Riverside Sun in Vanderbijlpark on 8-9 October 2019. The theme for this conference was “Climate meets Agriculture – The Interplay”. The conference was both stimulating and informative, with a wonderful array of international keynote speakers and invited speakers. Mathieu Rouault and Anicet Imbol Koungue from NTC and co-author won the Stanly Jackson Award for best published paper in 2018  for Rouault, M., Illig, S., Lübbecke, J. and Koungue, R.A.I., 2018. Origin, development and demise of the 2010–2011 Benguela Niño. Journal of Marine Systems. It is now the fourth time in a raw that the NTC wins the Award


Michael Hart-Davis was awarded his master Cum Laude with distinction for his theises : Developing ocean particle tracking tools for cross-disciplinary oceanic research with applications in the Agulhas Current region. Avisor were Dr Bjorn Backeberg (NTC), Associate Prof Mostafa Bakhoday-Paskyabi (NERSC / UIB), Prof Juliet Hermes(SAEON,UCT) and Prof Johnny Johannessen (NERSC/UiB).

Mathieu Rouault went to Bergen early September  to discuss the new phase 3 Nansen Tutu Center agreement with the Norwegians NTC board members and sponsors and the NTC Norwegians director Annette Samuelsen. More funding will now be available for three years from 2010 onwards from NERSC, IMR and UiB. The 10 anniversary symposium was also discussed. He also attended the EU2020 TRIATLAS project kick off meeting which will federate the effort of the NTC in the Agulhas Benguela Angola Current systems and provide additional resources, funding and opportunity for NTC students and researcher to participate to an exiting multidisciplinary International project, attend related summer school and participate to the annual science workshops.


Michael Hart-Davis just returned from a visit to Bergen, where he was based at NERSC and the University of Bergen from the 14th of January to the 28th of August. The purpose of Mike’s visit was to complete his Master’s thesis under the supervision of A/Prof Mostafa Bakhoday-Paskyabi and Prof Johnny Johannessen and attend Numerical Modelling classes at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Bergen. During his time in Europe, Mike also attended an EPOS-N Workshop in Bergen where he got to learn about and use a research infrastructure designed for European solid Earth science. During this workshop, Mike got to interact with people in the Earth science community from all over northern Europe. Mike also went to Amsterdam where he met with his supervisor Dr Björn Backeberg and presented a presentation entitled “Lagrangian Ocean Search Targets”. Mike took his opportunity in Europe to visit the Technical University of Munich (TUM), where he built relationships with scientists in the satellite altimetry field, particularly Prof Florian Seitz and Dr Marcello Passaro. Through his travel to the TUM, Mike introduced and discussed the current research being done in South Africa and at the Nansen-Tutu Center.

Sunset on Lovstakken
Sunset on Lovstakken
Mike and Juliano
Mike and Juliano
Mike needs a beard
Mike needs a beard
Nordnes with Juliano
Nordnes with Juliano
Mike, Johnny and Hermann
Mike, Johnny and Hermann

      Georges-Noel Longandjo visited NCAR in the USA and attented the workshop on Community Earth System Model on 5-9 August 2019


Hermann Luyt just returns from Bergen

Hermann on the peak of Løvstakken, w
Hermann on the peak of Løvstakken, w
Hermann and François at NERSC
Hermann and François at NERSC
François, Remus Hanea (data assimila
François, Remus Hanea (data assimila
Johnny Johannessen, Michael Hart-Dav
Johnny Johannessen, Michael Hart-Dav
Sunset at Bergen
Sunset at Bergen

Hermann Luyt just returned from a visit to Bergen where he was situated at NERSC from 9 May to 5 August. The purpose of his visit to NERSC was for close supervision from Dr François Counillon for his PhD work, including setting up and running a data assimilation scheme in a regional HYCOM model of the South African coastline. During his time abroad, Hermann also attended the Data Assimilation Summer School in Timisoara, Romania, from 22 July to 2 August. The summer school covered both the theoretical background of data assimilation as well as some of its applications. Both Drs Laurent Bertino and François Counillon from NERSC lectured at the summer school. Hermann is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work closely with François in Bergen and for the opportunity to attend the summer school. He sincerely thanks those who made it possible for him.

Congratulation to Sian Seymour and her advisor Marjolaine Krug for graduating with distinction for her Master.  We will make her thesis “SAR high resolution wind speed” in False Bay available on the web site soon. Also, congratulation to Bernardino Nhantumbo for being awarded his PhD on Sea level variability around South Africa. Advisor were Bjorn Backeberg and Dr. Jan Even Nilsen.


Bafana Gweba visited the Ocean Physics and Satellite oceanography lab (LOPS) at the Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM, Brest, France) hosted by Dr Pierrick Penven (IRD) from the 18th of June to 14th of July 2019. The purpose of the visit was to get collaboration and help about his studies which focus on the interactions between waves and currents in the Agulhas Current region using numerical models and satellite observations. During this visit, he attended the 8th edition of “Observing and Modelling ocean waves” summer school given in Brest from 27th of June to 5th of July 2019. During this workshop, he got a chance of engaging with other fellow attendees . He also met Dr Farbice Collard from Ocean Data Lab who agreed to be my co-supervisor. Bafana will be going back from September to December 2019.

From 15 to 19 July 2019, Folly Serge Tomety attended the ICTP-CLIVAR Summer School on Oceanic Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems. Held in Trieste, Italy, the summer school is jointly organised by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics and the CLIVAR Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems Research Foci. This research school aims to summarize the current state of scientific understanding of EBUSs and discuss how to elaborate a strategy to improve observations and theoretical understanding of the main physical and biogeochemical processes that link planetary and basin scales with regional scale.Additionally, about 35 participants from different countries presented their research work. Serge took this opportunity to discuss his work with Thomas Toniazzo from Bergen, Alban Lazar and Paquita Zuidema. The courses have mainly explored the importance and critical processes of the EBUSs including their historical variability; the processes controlling the atmospheric dynamics, role of submesoscale for biogeochemistry and ecology and link between large scale climate processes and EBUSs. Lighter note, we had a welcome reception at ICTP Adriatico guest house and attended the ICTP social event “From Africa to ASIA”. At the end of the school, Serge visited Venice.

Welcome to our new member Founi

Dr Founi Mesmin AWO is a new post-doctoral fellow of the NT Center. He is from Benin. He obtained a PhD in physical oceanography, on the dynamics and the impacts of the tropical Atlantic climate modes, from the Paul Sabatier University of Toulouse in France and the University of Abomey Calavi in ​​Benin. His research has been involved in the European PREFACE (enhancing PREdiction oF tropical Atlantic ClimatE and its impacts) program, which aimed to improve our understanding of variability in the tropical Atlantic. He will study the Impact of Benguela Niños and Congo River on the marine ecosystem in colaboration with Mrek Ostowski from IMR, a topic of international interest with societal implication. It is also part of the new International Horizon 20/20 TRIATLAS project. Dr F. M AWO will also assist in the training of master and PhD students of the NT center and be in charge of data.

The ongoing process of motivating  a oceanographic cruise around Madagascar by Juliano

In September 2018, Juliano visited the Institute Marine Research (IMR), a focal point for the FAO-Nansen program, and Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC). The purpose of the trip was for presenting work he has been involved in publishing using the Dr Fridtjof Nansen data operated around Madagascar. The objective of the presentation was to motivate the FAO-Nansen program to invest more in the south-west Indian Ocean in terms of oceanographic campaigns.


Six months later, Juliano returned to spend two months, i.e. from March to April 2019, in Bergen Norway. Through this visit, Juliano sought to exploit the existing Dr Fridtjof Nansen data collected in the vicinity of the south of Madagascar, in order to again demonstrate that the cruise hydrographic measurement program can contribute significantly to resolving oceanographic mysteries occurring in the region. The study investigated the East Madagascar Retroflection behaviour (which remains unresolved at present), using mainly a compilation of Ship-mounted ADCP data from several cruises particularly from Dr Fridtjof Nansen program, and highlighted the local and the regional impact of the retroflection. The work has been done through collaboration between IMR and NERSC scientists.


Targeting a large audience working in the Indian Ocean rim and the FAO funders, Juliano also participated in the 11th Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) symposium where he delivered an oral presentation and facilitated a panel discussion to raise awareness about and emphasize the need for Madagascar to be supported in collecting cruise data sets as much as possible for physical oceanography purposes which may have a local, regional and perhaps a worldwide impact.


Afterall, the job of a scientist does not always remain of as being only a researcher, but sometimes it requires more that we can afford!!!


Below: Juliano’s presentation during WIOMSA special session. Presentation title: “How and Where the East Madagascar Current originates?


Johnny Johannessen from NERSC visited for a week to teach operational oceanography and satellite remotes sensing while Marek Ostrowski from IMR spent a day at the Nansen Tutu Center on his way to a cruise.

Between the 6th and 8th of May, Michael Hart-Davis attended the EGI Conference on Advanced Cloud Computing in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Alongside being exposed to the international cloud computing community, Michael presented his tool and website that he has developed with Dr Björn Backeberg. The tool known as LOST, Lagrangian Ocean Search Targets, is a global search and rescue tool that is designed to be used by search and rescue authorities as well as the general public to assess the trajectory of different objects in the ocean. Michaels presentation received good and exciting feedback from members of the conference which should foster a strong collaboration with the cloud computing community.

Marjolaine Krug attended the World Ocean Circulation (WOC) user consulation meeting, Frascati, Italy, February 2019, the GCOS Joint Panels Meeting, emcompassing OOPC-22, Marrakesh, Morocco, March 2019 and the annual Meetings of the IIOE-2 Steering Committee, IOGOOS, IORP, SIBER ,IRF & IOCINDIO, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, March 2019 before going to Durban to recover the glides of the SAGE 2019 experiment

Marie-Lou Bachèlery went to the EGU General Assembly 2019 in Vienna, Austria from the 7th to the 12th April 2019. She gave an oral presentation on the “Impacts and characteristics of the interannual Coastal Trapped Waves in the Angola-Benguela Upwelling System”, a work done in collaboration with Serena Illig and Mathieu Rouault. She also co-convened a PICO session entitled “Tropical & Subtropical Ocean Circulation, Equatorial to Mid-Latitude Air-Sea Interactions” along with Alban Lazar (Convener - Sorbonne Université, LOCEAN-IPSL), Peter Brandt (GEOMAR), Noel Keenlyside (University of Bergen, Geophysical Institute) and Ingo Richter (JAMSTEC). The EGU is an international conference joining more than 15,000 researchers from 113 countries. It’s a perfect occasion to meet with collaborators, partners and experts in the scientific community.


A Graduation ceremony was held in Cape Town. Congratulation to Arielle Stela Nkwinkwa Njouado who got her PhD and Jason O'Connor and Liisa Shangheta who got their B.Sc with Honours.


Professors Asgeir Sørensen and  Martin Ludvigsen from the Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems based in Trondheim, Norway visited the Nansen Tutu center after a visit to PE for the SANOCEAN Launch Conference. Trondheim


Welcome Dr. Annette Samuelsen, our new Norwegian director. She is an oceanographer who is working with application and development of physical-biological models, including biogeochemical models, passive particle tracking studies and individual based models.  Her research combines the model results with both in-situ and remotely sensed observations with the aim of studying the interaction between physical ocean processes and the marine ecosystems, the interaction between mesoscale eddies and the marine ecosystem is something finds particularly interesting.  She has been employed at the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre since 2005 where she has also been involved with developing operational oceanography applications for couple physical-biological models, this is now used as part of the CMEMS forecast for the Arctic.  Since 2016 she has lead of the Ocean Modeling group at NERSC, which also collaborated with the Nansen Tutu Centre on the HYCOM modeling activity in the Agulhas region.

Welcome to our new research Associate Jenny. Dr Jennifer Veitch is a physical oceanographer who uses numerical models as a tool to better understand ocean processes that are difficult to observe in a cohesive way using in situ or satellite data. Her area of expertise is the Benguela system, from the Angola-Benguela Frontal Zone at its northern boundary to the Goodhope Jet at its southern. Jennifer has recently been appointed as a numerical modeller for a newly established initiative, funded by the Deaprtment of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and implemented by the South African Environmtenal Observation Network (SAEON), to promote transformative capacity building and development in ocean modelling in South Africa. In parallel to this, the vision is to produce an operational ocean modelling system for the South African coastline that will provide realtime information to various stakeholders.


Dr Halo from the department of conservation and marine science at CPUT, and currently research associate of the Nansen-Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research, was invited to attend a high level panel on "Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy" initiated by the Norwegian Prime Minister and comprising 13 Heads of Government and State and involving the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Special Envoy for the Ocean. The objective was to leverage collective and effective action by the international community, including the UN, regional bodies, governments and private business, in response to global challenges and opportunities, along 6 main axis of research: (1) Impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems; (2) Ocean health; (3) State of fisheries resources; (4) Sustainable aquaculture;  (5) Importance of seafood for human nutrition and (6) Future sustainable use of ocean biological resources. During the Oceans to Action meeting Dr. Halo moderated the table discussions of "Actions Points" compiled by the rapporteurs. Dr Halo then visited the Institute of Marine Research, and the Nansen Environmental Remote Sensing Centre (NERSC).  During his visit to NERSC, he had several collaboration meetings with NERSC scientists and nearly finalized the writing-up of two joint research papers. 

Bellinda Monyela and Belinda Nhesvure took part in the 4th Department of Science and Technology (DST) Global Change Conference hosted by University of Limpopo at Polokwane from the 3rd to 6th of December 2018.  The theme of the conference was termed “Sustainable futures through science and innovation”. Bellinda Monyela presented her poster on Non El Nino drought in Southern Africa at the main conference while Belinda Nhesvure delivered an oral presentation on the impact of El Nino on coastal South African ocean e at the Alliance for Collaboration on Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS) side event.    

The annual Nansen Tutu Center students' presentations morning was held at UCT on the 2 of November prior to the board meeting. Program can be found here. On the 1 of November Johnny Johannessen and Issufo Halo organized a one day workshop for the visit of a delegation of the Norwegian Ministry of Science and technology at CPUT. Program can be found here