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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Mon, 10.05.21 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 10 May 2021
May 10, 2021 - Van Karman Vortices off Guadalupe Island


Van Karman Vortices off Guadalupe Island

From time to time a combination of wind, cloud cover, and tall islands
conspire to create stunning scenery when viewed from space. On May 3,
2021, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on
board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of such a
moment when wind blowing past Guadalupe Island resulted in snake-like
swirls in the cloud cover. Guadalupe island is a tall volcanic island
that rises sharply from the Pacific Ocean not far from the coast of
Baja California, Mexico.

These dramatic patterns were first described in 1912, when physicist
Theodore von Ka'rma'n first described a process that makes long,
spiraling cloud patterns in the sky. These so-called “von Ka'rma'n
vortices” arise when winds are diverted around a blunt, high-profile
area, often an island rising from the ocean. The alternating direction
of rotation in the air forms swirls in the clouds. Formation and
pattern of the vortices are driven by the direction of the prevailing
winds, which can change seasonally, leading to differences in the
direction and structure of the vortices. These patterns frequently form
behind Guadalupe Island.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 5/3/2021
Resolutions: 1km (179.9 KB), 500m (500.5 KB), 250m (323.4
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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