Anti-cyclonic rings are shed from the Agulhas Current at its retroflection.
They subsequently drift off into the South Atlantic. Smaller, cyclonic edd
ies have also been observed in this region. The origin of these latter eddi
es has remained unknown. We present model results that indicate that the co
nfiguration of the southern Agulhas Current and the poleward termination of
the continental shelf of Africa allows shedding of cyclonic lee eddies by
a flow detachment process. Hydrographic data, thermal infrared satellite im
ages and altimetric observations are furnished that show that this model si
mulation is consistent with the characteristics and the behaviour of cyclon
ic eddies in the region.