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Earth from Space: Depression in North Atlantic

13/11/2009 698 views 0 likes
ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth

This Envisat image captures a depression, or low pressure system, covering most of the North Sea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, on Monday 2 November.

Low pressure systems are storms that rotate around a central area of extreme low pressure, pulling in air from the surrounding area. Winds begin rushing inwards and upwards around this low-pressure zone. As the air rises, it cools and forms clouds and precipitation.

The area of low pressure developed to the southwest of Britain on Saturday night. Heavy rains spread through England (visible), Wales (partly visible), Northern Ireland and Scotland (partly visible) on Sunday morning.

Scotland was one of the worst hit areas, with 13 flood warnings issued. According to the UK Met Office, 53 mm of rain fell in the Scottish city of Aberdeen on Sunday, nearly three-quarters of the usual rainfall for the month of November.

The various colours of green visible in the sea around the River Thames in England are due to sediments being transported in the water. Western France is visible in the bottom right.

Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) optical instrument acquired this image working in Full Resolution mode to provide a spatial resolution of 300 m.

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