Mountains, clouds and relief precipitation

CroatiaHere in Canada, we are very familiar with how the Coast Mountains of BC influence the precipitation patterns of places along the west coast like Vancouver, Tofino and Ucluelet. It’s a classic case of moist, west winds from the Pacific being forced upwards by the mountains to cool, condense, form clouds and precipitate (CCCP* to my students) providing in excess of 3000mm of precipitation along the coast.

So, it’s interesting to see a similar but quite different phenomenon occurring in Croatia as shown by this NASA Earth Observatory Image-of-the-Day. Instead of west winds from the sea (the Mediterranean, intros case), they are easterlies, so that the moisture is “dumped” on the east side of the coastal range as shown by the cloud.

Have a look at the NASA EO IOTD page for a more thorough treatment of this: Of Mountains and Moisture.

* Of course, CCCP is only significant to old farts like me who remember the USSR and, in my case, their hockey jerseys emblazoned with CCCP. It does make for a good hockey story for my students, though. A little history mixed in with Geography never hurts.

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