Contrails on Satellite Imagery

As high pressure builds over the Northern Rockies on Thursday September 27, 2007, moisture in the upper levels is moving from the Pacific Northwest over the mountains of Idaho and Montana.  During the morning hours, conditions were ripe for the formation of contrails as airplanes made their way across the area at altitudes of 30,000 to 40,000 feet.  The image below is a visible satellite image of roughly 1 km horizontal resolution centered over Idaho taken at 900AM MDT by a geostationary satellite.  The image clearly shows a multitude of contrails that were formed and moving in the region ahead of the cirrus shield over Washington.  Forecasters at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Riverton, WY do not recall in the past few years seeing such a good example of contrails.

For more information on contrails, please visit this page at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Visible Satellite image at 9AM Thursday 27 Sep. 2007 of contrails over Northern Rockies

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