Seasonal and interannual variability of the Canary Current


  • E. Navarro-Pérez School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales Bangor
  • E. D. Barton School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales Bangor



seasonal and interannual varibility, sea level, Canary Current, subtropical gyre


Seasonal and interannual variability of the Canary Current on its passage through the Canary archipelago and between 20-35°N and 10-20°N are studied with long series of historical tide gauge, sea surface temperature and hydrographic data. The variability of winds is more seasonal in the north of the area, where they are weak and perpendicular to the coast in winter, than in the south, where winds are roughly parallel to shore all year though strongest in summer. Temperature and salinity data maps show a curved structure indicative of the subtropical gyre, which varies seasonally from North to South and from the open ocean to the coast. Dynamic height analyses show this seasonal variation of the gyre to depths of 200 m and indicate the existence of a meander-like diversion around the Canary Islands. The sea level in the Canary Islands also indicates a strong seasonal variation of the north Atlantic subtropical gyre. The southward geostrophic surface flow, derived from sea surface slope, was strongest during spring and summer at the eastern islands while it was strongest in winter at the outermost islands. The spatially averaged flow between the innermost and outermost islands shows the strongest southward flow in winter. Interannual variation of the flow between these islands, investigated during two periods, 1950-1956 and 1960-1973, reveals a mainly southward flow, although several show a northward tendency. The maximum equatorward velocity of the current in both periods is around 5 cm s-1, indicating a weak current.


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How to Cite

Navarro-Pérez E, Barton ED. Seasonal and interannual variability of the Canary Current. scimar [Internet]. 2001Jul.30 [cited 2022Nov.27];65(S1):205-13. Available from:




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