Satellite image of the month

January 2020 - Polar Low system near Scotland

28 January 2020

A Polar Low is a small and short-lived weather system associated with severe weather including high winds and snow. They can form when cold polar air moves over the relatively warmer sea, triggering convection. The rising air leads to the development of cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. In the right conditions these clouds wrap into a tight circulation around a rapidly deepening low pressure centre. Due to their intense winds they can cause problem to mariners, but normally dissipate quickly over land.

On 28th January a Polar Low with a cyclonic spiralling cloud and a marked eye could be seen in satellite imagery over the Atlantic ocean to the north east of Scotland. This true colour image from 13:37 UTC was produced using data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi/NPP, a NOAA/NASA operated polar orbiting satellite.

Credits:  Image: © Crown copyright, Met Office, Data: NOAA/NASA

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