The volcanoes of the South Sandwich Islands, located in the South Atlantic, have a notable effect on cloud formation in this satellite photo. Visokoi Island, on the right, sheds a wake of large vortices that distort the cloud layer above it. On the left, Zavodovski Island’s volcano does the same, with the added effect of low-level volcanic emissions, which include aerosols. These tiny particles provide a nucleus around which water droplets form, causing an marked increase in cloud formation visible in the bright tail streaming off the island. (Photo credit: NASA, via Earth Observatory)
This numerical simulation shows unsteady supersonic flow (Mach 2) around a circular cylinder. On the right are contours of density, and on the left is entropy viscosity, used for stability in the computations. After the flow starts, the bow shock in front of the cylinder and its reflections off the walls and the shockwaves in the cylinder’s wake relax into a steady-state condition. About halfway through the video, you will notice the von Karman vortex street of alternating vortices shed from the cylinder, much like one sees at low speeds. The simulation is inviscid to simplify the equations, which are solved using tools from the FEniCS project. (Video credit: M. Nazarov)
For this image, two artificial fish fins are placed side-by-side and flapped in phase. Flow in the image is upward. The wakes of the fins interact in a complicated vortex street. Researchers hope that studying such flows can help in designing the next generation of autonomous underwater vehicles. (Photo credit: B. Boschitsch, P. Dewey, and A. Smits)
Cloud streets flowing south across Bristol Bay hit the Shishaldin and Pavlof volcanoes, which part the air flow into distinctive swirls called von Karman vortex streets. As air flows around the volcano, a vortex is shed first on one side, then the other. Although the usual example for this type of flow is the wake of a cylinder, vortex streets can extend behind any non-aerodynamic body immersed in a flow. The same phenomenon is responsible for the singing of power lines in the wind. As astronaut Dan Burbank observes, “It’s classic aerodynamics, but on a thousands of miles scale.” (Photo credit: Dan Burbank, NASA)
This numerical simulation shows a von Karman vortex street in the wake of a bluff body. As flow moves over the object, vortices are periodically shed off the object’s upper and lower surfaces at a steady frequency related to the velocity of the flow. The simulation takes place in a channel; note how the thickness of the boundary layers on the walls increases with downstream distance, forcing a slight constriction on the vortex street in the freestream.
The von Karman vortex street is a series of vortices shed periodically in the wake of a bluff body. Although they are commonly observed in the lab behind cylinders, they also occur in nature, as seen here in the wake of Juan Fernandez Islands near Chile. The strong equatorward wind creates steady flow over the mountainous island, creating a pattern in the clouds that stretches 10,000 times longer than vortex streets created in a laboratory. (via freshphotons)