Monday, August 26, 2013

Some Views from Space

Recent satellite imagery has been really fascinating.  We'll start with todays visible satellite loop, which shows: (1) the decaying cyclonic (counter clockwise) circulation of tropical storm Ivo off the coast of Baja, (2) extensive mid and high clouds streaming northward and northeastward into Utah, and the fires of Yosemite.  Apologies for blogger bleaching it out.

The band of clouds (and precipitation) streaming into Utah from Ivo might be called a Predecessor Rain Event or PRE, which often develop ahead of tropical cyclones that are moving into the midlatitudes and can contribute to heavy precipitation and flooding.  

This type of a pattern is, however, a disappointment for Utah storm chasers.  The widespread cloud cover is putting a damper on the daytime surface heating and thusfar has limited thunderstorm development.  This is your classic case of too much of a good thing.  Too much moisture and too much lift.  With a bit of surface heating, things might have been a bit more interesting.  

Also of interest is yesterday's MODIS imagery of the fires around Yosemite.  Note the remarkably thick smoke, which completely obscures the surface in some areas.  There is also a need series of fire plumes emanating from the southern fire front.  I'm not sure if that reflects terrain or perhaps what is known as roll convection in the atmosphere, which often produces cloud streets of that type.  In any event, it sure is interesting.  

Source: NASA

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