Swirling clouds in the night sky Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features swirling cloud patterns in the night sky over the coast of Morocco.
The cloud designs, known as von Kármán vortices, developed as the winds flowed around small islands in the North Atlantic.
Just like a fluid, the atmosphere changes its flow and direction when it runs into a barrier.
In this case, as faster winds moved past slower winds, the airflow was disturbed by the islands below.
The patterns of these types of “vortex streets” are shaped by the intensity of the wind.
“This is a spectacular satellite image,” said Paul Beggs, an associate professor at Macquarie University. “I don’t recall having seen an image of von Kármán vortices at nighttime previously, so I would consider it rare.”
The photograph was captured on July 19, 2019 by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite. Morocco (listen); Arabic: المغromanized: al-maġhrib, lit. ‘place the sun sets; the west’; Standard Moroccan Tamazight: ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ, romanized: lmeɣrib; French: Maroc), officially the Kingdom of Morocco (Arabic: المملكة المغربية, romanized: al-mamlakah al-maghribiyah, lit. ‘The Western Kingdom’; Standard Moroccan Tamazight:romanized: tageldit n lmaɣrib; French: Royaume du Maroc), is a country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, with land border with Algeria to the east and Western Sahara to the south (status disputed). Morocco also claims the exclaves of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction, as well as several small Spanish-controlled islands of its coast. The capital is Rabat and the largest city is Casablanca. Morocco spans an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi) and has a population of over 36 million.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory