Marine stratocumulus clouds frequently form parallel rows,
or “cloud streets,” along the
direction of wind flow. When the flow is interrupted by an obstacle
such as an island, a series of organized eddies can appear within
the cloud layer downwind of the obstacle.
These turbulence patterns are known as von Karman vortex streets.
In these images from NASA’s Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer,
an impressive vortex pattern continues for
over 300 km southward of Jan Mayen island. Jan Mayen is an isolated
territory of Norway, located about 650 km northeast of Iceland in the
north Atlantic Ocean. Jan Mayen’s
Beerenberg volcano rises about 2.2 km above the ocean surface,
providing a significant impediment to wind flow.