'Karman Vortex' Cloud Structure

But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet XXXIII
Structure Description
Global Occurrence
Observation Diagrams

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"Convective Cells"
"Karman Vortex" Cloud Structure (KVS)

The clouds of this structure look like a set of organized turbulences within the layer of "Close Cells" structure that normally consist of Stratocumulus and Stratus clouds.
Each swirl turns (seen from above) in the clockwise direction on the left side of the thereby formed cloud street and against the clockwise direction on the right side.

This structure emerges usually above the sea surface if the temperature of the cold air gradually rises.
This leads to the strong flowing constant wind, which blows on the lower level.
If the wind has a significant barrier in the wind direction (normally a hilly island with the summit that raises some of meter more highly than the cloud top height of the surrounding cloud layer), can a turbulence street form.
The further away the barrier the turbulences spread, the bigger they appear.
Cloud top height and the other parameters do not differ from parameters of the surrounding convective cloud structure.

This phenomenon is well-known as Karman vortex or Karman turbulences. (Theodore von Kármán [1881-1963] was a Hungarian engineer. He is considered as a pioneer of the modern aerodynamics and the aviation research.)

During the observation period this structure was seen only in few places: at most above Canarias, Cabo Verde islands and over Aleutian and Kuril islands, in addition, above Cheju, Guadalupe, January Mayen, Alexander Selkirk, Heard and some other islands.

Global Occurrence Diagram
Global occurrence diagram of 'Karman Vortex' Structure


Clouds From Space

Japan Meteorological Agency 2002
Analysis and Use of Meteorological Satellite Images, Chapter 3, Cloud patterns
Andreas Chlond
Turbulenz und Grenzschicht
DÖRNBRACK, R. HEISE, J. P. KUETTNER Waves and rotors

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