Ghostly faces in the stratosphere -

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features an eery face discovered by Lawrence Coy and Steven Pawson in a visualization of wind and temperature data.

“By day, Lawrence Coy and Steven Pawson are NASA scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center who develop complex data assimilation and reanalysis models of Earth’s atmosphere. But when they need a break, they have an unconventional hobby – searching for ghostly faces swirling in their data,” says NASA.

“The best time to find faces is in the winter in the polar regions of the northern hemisphere,” explains Pawson. “That’s when the dark conditions of the ‘polar night’ lead to a ring of westerly winds in the stratosphere that atmospheric scientists have long called the stratospheric polar vortex or circumpolar vortex.”

“Finding these never gets old, and it’s a fun way to get people to think about the stratosphere and our data assimilation models. It’s also a good way to highlight year-to-year differences in the stratosphere.”

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/ Joshua Stevens

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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