12 December 1997 -- Circulations in Stratocumulus Clouds Off Baja California

GOES-8 10.7 micron IR

GOES-8 10.7 micron IR

(Java animation)

On this particular day, strong northeasterly Santa Ana winds were affecting parts of southern California. This northeasterly (offshore) flow regime was also present across much of Baja California. A thin line of stratocumulus clouds was stretched into a NW-SE oriented deformation zone, with anticyclonic vortices forming on each end. As this feature propagated southwestward, the marine inversion height increased, allowing the cloud depth to increase -- this is evident from the cooling cloud top temperatures (yellow and red enhancement) as the animation progresses. Also evident is an island lee cloud line that forms southwest of Guadaloupe Island, and subtle gravity waves can be seen moving through the closed-cell stratocumulus field south and southeast of the dual-vortex feature.


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