Published: June 8,2017
Kelvin-Helmholtz waves in the Great Lakes appear in this 6.19µm water vapor satellite image from preliminary/non-operational GOES-16 Wednesday morning.The newly launched GOES-16 weather satellite continues to provide meteorologists astounding high-resolution imagery of Earth's atmosphere, and this week is no exception.
(MORE: GOES-16 Satellite Detects Thousands of Lightning Strikes)
Wednesday morning's water vapor satellite loop from GOES-16, which shows the amount of moisture in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere, detected Kelvin-Helmholtz waves, or mini vortices, spinning over the Great Lakes region.
Several National Weather Service offices took to Twitter to point out this fascinating feature.
Vortices are essentially a mass of whirling moisture or air – similar to a whirlpool or whirlwind – in the atmosphere.
These Kelvin-Helmholtz waves were embedded within a much larger-scale upper-level low. Think of it as the Tilt-a-Whirl ride at your county fair, or the Teacups ride at Disney World.
A similar phenomenon recently occurred off the coast of California, where the vortices resembled the shape of a hurricane.
(MORE: No, This Isn't a Hurricane Off the California Coast)
Some may say these mini vortices resemble a ring of pearls.
Brian Donegan is a digital meteorologist at weather.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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