Gulf Stream, and Autumn color

October 4th, 2006 |

AWIPS MODIS sea surface temperature
The AWIPS MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product (above) reveals the dramatic water temperature contrast associated with the Gulf Stream off the East Coast of the US on 04 October. Sea surface temperatures were as warm as 81 F (red enhancement) along the axis of the Gulf Stream off the coast of North Carolina, and as cold as 53 F (cyan enhancement) off the coast of New England and Nova Scotia. Mesoscale variability in the water temperatures are evident which are not well depicted by the Real-time Global Sea Surface Temperature (RTG_SST) analysis. The corresponding AWIPS MODIS visible image (below) shows a typical example of the narrow cumulus cloud lines (or “rope clouds”) that often form along the sharpest temperature gradient of the Gulf Stream axis (as well as along the periphery of some of the ocean circulation eddies) — the contrast in water temperatures acts as a differential heating boundary to focus marine boundary layer convergence and initiate subsequent formation of the narrow cumulus cloud features. A QuickTime animation of GOES-12 visible imagery shows that these rope clouds remained quasi-stationary during the course of the day.
AWIPS MODIS visible image

Closer to home, the Aqua MODIS true color image shows that the Autumn tree colors are reaching their peak across much of northern Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan.