An Australian “Anti-storm”

High-pressure weather systems often bring fair weather and relatively clear skies. In early June 2012, a high off the coast of Tasmania did just that…and in spectacular fashion.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this view of a hole in a cloud formation at 3:00 p.m. local time (05:00 Universal Time) on June 5, 2012. The weather system over the Great Australian Bight cut out the oval-shaped hole from a blanket of marine stratocumulus clouds.

The cloud hole, with a diameter that stretched as far as 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) across, was caused by sinking air associated with an area of high pressure near the surface. Globally, the average sea-level pressure is about 1013 millibars; at the center of this high, pressures topped 1,040 millibars.


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Earth Observatory, June 2012