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Cloud Vortex Off the Coast of Chile

33.9S 71.3W

January 15th, 2010 Category: Clouds

Chile - January 5th, 2010

Chile - January 5th, 2010

Thick clouds hugging the coast of Chile spiral into a vortex over the Pacific Ocean. A cloud is a visible mass of droplets, in other words, little drops of water or frozen crystals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of the Earth (or another planetary body).

On Earth the condensing substance is typically water vapor, which forms small droplets or ice crystals, typically 0.01 mm (0.00039 in) in diameter. When surrounded by billions of other droplets or crystals they become visible as clouds. Dense deep clouds exhibit a high reflectance (70% to 95%) throughout the visible range of wavelengths. They thus appear white, at least from the top. When air currents cause clouds to form in a spiral, with the motion of the water vapor swirling rapidly around a center, the result is called a cloud vortex.

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