DISCUSSION: With the advent of advanced satellite imagery platforms such as the MODIS-TERRA, MODIS-AQUA satellite class or the GOES-R (and upcoming GOES-S) next-generation satellite imagers, both atmospheric and surface-based observations have taken a major leap forward. This major lead forward is due to the fact that modern satellite imaging technology capabilities now give atmospheric researchers the consistent ability to study far smaller atmospheric phenomena in far greater detail than ever before in the course of human history. Satellite imagers including (but certainly not limited to) those noted above are allowing atmospheric scientists to view and understand finite details associated with extra-tropical low-pressure systems, tropical cyclones, Spring-time convective storms of varying types, and even trajectories of air pollution tied to anthropogenic activities or natural events such as volcanic eruptions.
Modernized satellite technology is quickly re-defining the manner in which man-kind will be able to understand the global atmosphere and various ongoing scientific problems tied to both studying and forecasting evolving trends thereof. Captured in the brief animated satellite imagery above is a recent occurrence of an interesting atmospheric phenomena referred to as Von Kármán vortex streets. Von Kármán vortex streets are essentially manifestations of disrupted low-level atmospheric flow around physical obstacles present over relatively open oceanic basins (e.g., the far eastern Atlantic Ocean in this particular case). Von Kármán vortex streets form as relatively uni-directional flow is disturbed by a physical feature (e.g., the presence of the Cape Verde Islands just offshore from the west coast of Africa).
By looking closely in the brief satellite imagery loop attached above, you can denote a subtle swirling of the clouds and dust (i.e., mineral dust associated with a larger Saharan Dust plume) ejecting off of western Africa) to the west and southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. This swirling occurring within the dust plume in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands is the visual confirmation of the reality that the Cape Verde Islands were inducing the generation of Von Kármán vortex streets. This is just one of many other recent examples in which higher-resolution satellite imagers have drastically changed the way in which atmospheric research is more exciting than ever before.
To learn more about other interesting weather events occurring across Africa, be sure to click here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz