Rope cloud feeding into Tropical Invest 98L

September 22nd, 2021 |

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (above) showed a long rope cloud feeding into the western portion of Tropical Invest 98L in the eastern Atlantic Ocean on 22 September 2021. The rope cloud was located near the African Monsoon Trough (12 UTC surface analysis), and north of the rope cloud the hazy appearance of a dust-laden Saharan Air Layer was apparent — so this rope cloud feature likely marked the boundary between dry SAL air to the north and moist tropical air to the south (as seen in the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product). In addition, Metop-A ASCAT surface scatterometer winds at 0956 UTC and 2104 UTC showed speed and/or directional convergence in the vicinity of the rope cloud (between 10-15 N latitude). Also of interest was the effect of the Cabo Verde islands on marine boundary layer clouds beneath the SAL. On the following day, Invest 98L intensified to become Tropical Storm Sam, as discussed in this blog post.

The hazy Saharan Air Layer was also seen in a Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color image at 1439 UTC, as visualized using RealEarth (below). The west-to-east oriented rope cloud was located around 11-12 N latitude.

VIIRS True Color RGB image from Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

The “Saharan Air Layer” (SAL) Split Window Difference product from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) depicted the westward advance of the dusty SAL air off northwestern Africa.

GOES-16 “Saharan Air Layer” Split Window Difference product [click to play animation]