Frontogenesis of the Angola-Benguela Frontal Zone
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Geophysical Institute 
A diagnostic analysis of the climatological annual mean and seasonal cycle of the Angola–Benguela Frontal Zone (ABFZ) is performed by applying an ocean frontogenetic function (OFGF) to the ocean mixing layer (OML). The OFGF reveals that the meridional confluence and vertical tilting terms are the most dominant contributors to the frontogenesis of the ABFZ. The ABFZ shows a well-pronounced semiannual cycle with two maximum (minimum) peaks in April–May and November–December (February–March and July–August). The development of the two maxima of frontogenesis is due to two different physical processes: enhanced tilting from March to April and meridional confluence from September to October. The strong meridional confluence in September to October is closely related to the seasonal southward intrusion of tropical warm water to the ABFZ that seems to be associated with the development of the Angola Dome northwest of the ABFZ. The strong tilting effect from March to April is attributed to the meridional gradient of vertical velocities, whose effect is amplified in this period due to increasing stratification and shallow OML depth. The proposed OFGF can be viewed as a tool to diagnose the performance of coupled general circulation models (CGCMs) that generally fail at realistically simulating the position of the ABFZ, which leading to huge warm biases in the southeastern Atlantic.