- Press Release
- August 18, 2022
NASA MODIS Image of the Day: December 10, 2011 – South Benguela
The deep blue ocean off the west coast of southern Africa is home to the Benguela Current, a strong and icy northward flowing current which brings water from the Southern Ocean near Antarctica as far north as Angola.
The current is so strong that early ships hugging the African coast found it very difficult to sail southward from Angola to the Cape of Good Hope.
On December 9, 2011, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this true-color image of the western coast of South Africa, including the prominent hook of Cape Peninsula. Cape Town can be seen as a gray smudge on the Table Bay side of the peninsula. Off the coast, the southern Benguela current can be approximately visualized by the greenish swirls in the water. This coloration is caused by blooming phytoplankton, microscopic plant-like organisms which are fed by nutrients carried by the current.