fivemack (fivemack) wrote,

A really good illustration of just how much air traffic there is

I often look at satellite photos in the sort of circumstances where one might more usually stare out of the window for inspiration; it's always good to confirm that my brother is baking in Andalucian sunshine while Cambridge is dripping with Fenland rain. This morning the gods of cloud and of orbital mechanics have conspired together well, and offered this (4481 by 7488-pixel JPEG file) nice photo from ENVISAT, taken at about lunchtime and showing a swathe across England and Ireland, and down across the Bay of Biscay, via the tip of Brittany, to Asturias and down the east coast of Iberia to beyond Lisbon. If you find 32-megapixel images cumbersome, there's a half-megapixel version if you click on the thumbnail to the side of this paragraph.

I've been vaguely looking for satellite photos that show the extent of the recent flooding, but freely-available satellite photos are at a resolution of sixteen pixels per square kilometre, and unavoidably flooding is correlated with rain, which is correlated with cloud, which is opaque to satellites; the weather's fine with little fluffy clouds at the moment, but as you see there are an awful *lot* of little fluffy clouds.

What really struck me in that photo is this cut-out bit below. I suspect the conditions are just right for contrails to persist, and I've brightened and sharpened the image in ways that make them show up slightly better than they do in the original, but all the way from Devon to Cork the main features are contrails.

Tags: contrails, pretty-clouds, satellite, weather
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