Satellite Image of the Week #4

This week’s satellite image is from the Mid-Atlantic this morning.  What I especially like about this image is the mountain-wave pattern coming off the Appalachian Mountains.  It is especially prevalent though Maryland.

A regular blog viewer might ask how I know the difference between “cloud streets” and “mountain-wave pattern” clouds.  As it turns out, cloud streets, which often show up before thunderstorms, have a similar appearance.

The trick is in the cloud motion.

Cloud streets often point to their moisture source, and moisture advects away from the moisture source.  This results in lines of clouds that move up the cloud streets.  The classic example of this is cloud streets near the Gulf of Mexico- cloud streets form north to south oriented bands, but you can see the clouds “propagate” north.

Mountain-wave pattern clouds remain spaced equally and can be used as a rough estimation of wind speed.  These clouds remain stationary, often in spite of the wind, constantly turning over in place.  If you were to loop today’s image, you would see that the clouds persist since sunrise, and their only appearance change is the increasing brightness due to differing sun angles throughout the day.

Also, more technically speaking, the cloud streets are convective in nature, with a bubbling appearance, forming from rising air, and then moving along the street.  Mountain-wave pattern clouds are often alto-cumulus in nature.  They have a smoother appearance, and are higher in the sky.

Thank you for reading this post!

Source:  College of DuPage – SATRAD

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About highplainschasing

This blog is about my tales in storm chasing. My name is Seth Price and I am an instrumentation instructor at New Mexico Tech. My amateur radio call sign is N3MRA.
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