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Weather 101: Cloud Patterns

These satellite photos are from Tuesday, May 8.

Here is a great little lesson in weather 101 that has to do with temperature profiles, moisture, location to the water, mesoscale circulations and so much more. The first satellite loop shows several features:

– The fog/low stratus that still blankets the offshore area of New England

– The clear skies just inland from the shore

– The rapidly developing Cumulus clouds well inland.

The next satellite loop shows the reasons for these features, I overlaid the station plots to show wind direction and temperature among other variables.

– The fog is occurring over the relatively cold waters off the coast (50F or so) vs. inland

– The clear skies just inland are over areas with temperatures from the upper 50s through 60s. It’s dry and warm enough so there is no fog, but not warm enough to produce buoyant air parcels that rise to produce clouds, since the cool onshore breeze from the water (sea breeze) is occurring there.

– The rapidly developing Cumulus well inland are occurring where the cool sea breeze has not yet penetrated, hence warm enough (low 70s) for buoyant updrafts to produce clouds.

You can even see the pattern of both the Connecticut and Hudson River Valleys in the clear skies, could be for a couple reasons, both those areas had fog earlier this morning that likely has led to a bit of a delay in the diurnal warming.

One picture is worth a lot of words! Enjoy!


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3 Comments


  1. I gave been studying clouds, and while I know no one seems to use them for weather forecasting I still appreciate any attention paid to them.
    Btw the ones in the picture at the top are altocumulus 🙂