Curiously aligned cloud formations stream across the Atlantic as Arctic air blows above warm ocean waters



cloud formations

An animation of nighttime pictures captured by the GOES-16 climate satellite tv for pc on December 28, 2017. Lengthy, parallel bands of cumulus clouds are seen streaming out over the Atlantic. (Photographs: RAMMB/SLIDER. GIF animation: Tom Yulsman)

Child, it’s chilly exterior!

Should you reside just about anyplace in Canada, or in the US east of the Rockies, that great tune from the 1940s just about sums up the situations as 2017 attracts to an in depth. And when revelers watch the ball drop in New York Metropolis’s Instances Sq. on New Years Eve, they should endure forecast temperatures of 10°F – with a wind chill of -5°F.

The brisk northwesterly winds which have carried the bitterly chilly Arctic air have given rise to stunning cloud formations over the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll be able to see them within the animation of above, consisting of GOES-16 satellite tv for pc imagery: lengthy, parallel rows of cumulus clouds pouring to the southeast.

These cloud formations are a well-known phenomenon often known as “cloud streets.” This graphic from NOAA, together with the reason from NASA’s Earth Observatory, may also help you visualize what’s happening:

cloud formations

Supply: NOAA

Cloud streets are lengthy parallel bands of cumulusclouds that kind when chilly air blows over hotter waters and a hotter air layer (temperature inversion) rests excessive of each. The comparatively heat water offers up warmth and moisture to the chilly air above, and columns of heated air known as thermals naturally rise by the environment. The temperature inversion acts like a lid. When the rising thermals hit it, they roll over and loop again on themselves, creating parallel cylinders of rotating air. As this occurs, the moisture cools and condenses into flat-bottomed, fluffy-topped cumulus clouds that line up parallel to the route of the prevailing winds.

Right here’s how the the Average Decision Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS instrument, aboard NASA’s Terra satellite tv for pc captured the scene on Dec. 28th:

cloud formations

Cloud streets billow out from the U.S. jap seaboard on Dec. 28, 2017. (Supply: NASA Earth Observatory)

Not all of North America is within the Arctic’s icy grip proper now, because the map beneath illustrates.

It reveals the forecast for the way temperatures will fluctuate from regular right this moment (Saturday, Dec. 30th). The purple and orange tones masking the western United States are indicative of hotter than common temperatures.

cloud formations

Supply: Local weather Reanalyzer

What accounts for this curious sample? As NASA explains it:

The chilly climate sample has its origins in a big bulge, or ridge, within the jet stream that has introduced unseasonably heat climate to Alaska. On the east facet of this ridge, a trough within the jet stream plunged southward, bringing loads of Arctic air with it. This orientation of the jet stream, which seems just like the greek letter omega, is named an omega block.

President Trump not too long ago used the frigid climate blanketing half of the U.S. to pooh pooh local weather change:

In that one Tweet he ignored a lot:

  • Along with the weird heat gripping many of the world proper now, he ignored the truth that by November, the U.S. has skilled one of many very warmest years on file.
  • Nothing has occurred in December — not even the chilly situations over a part of North America — that may change the very doubtless final result for the 12 months as an entire: 2017 is about to go down because the second or third warmest. (NASA’s Gavin Schmidt has predicted a 98 likelihood of 2017 being second warmest.)
  • And on this approach, the president ignored the basic distinction between climate and local weather.

As my good friend and colleague Bob Henson put it in a submit on the Class 6 weblog:

Local weather change doesn’t do away with climate. We will nonetheless count on chilly waves and warmth waves, whilst greenhouse gases make our total local weather hotter over time. And since international warming doesn’t change the truth that Earth is tilted on its axis, winter nonetheless occurs.

As do foolish feedback from politicians who ought to know higher.


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