An extratropical cyclone created this sprawling, comma-shaped swirl of clouds over Hudson Bay. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired the image on August 10, 2016. The storm intensified on August 9, reached peak strength on the 10th, and weakened by August 11.
Extratropical cyclones have cold air at their cores, and they are fueled by interactions between masses of cold and warm air masses. Mature extratropical cyclones like this often feature comma-shaped cloud patterns that are the product of “conveyor belt” circulation. While heavy precipitation is often present near the low-pressure head of the comma, a slot of dry air usually trails the west side of the tail.
- CIMSS Satellite Blog (2016, August 11) Deep cyclone over Hudson Bay. Accessed August 12, 2016.
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Comma Cloud Pattern. Accessed August 12, 2016.
- Schultz, D. & Vaughan, G. (2011, April 1) Occluded Fronts and the Occlusion Process: A Fresh Look at Conventional Wisdom. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
- The Washington Post (2016, August 10) Check out this beautiful occluded cyclone spinning over Hudson Bay. Accessed August 12, 2016.
- The Weather Channel (2016, August 11) Storm Over Hudson Bay, Canada, Revealed In Spectacular Satellite Images. Accessed August 12, 2016.
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Cylcones and Associated Warm Front. Accessed August 12, 2016.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens and Adam Voiland, using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Adam Voiland.
- Suomi NPP - VIIRS