Seven waterspouts align as lava from the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea pours into the ocean in this striking photo from photographer Bruce Omori. Like many waterspouts–and their landbound cousins dust devils–these vortices are driven by variations in temperature and moisture content. Near the ocean surface, air and water vapor heated by the lava create a warm, moist layer beneath cooler, dry air. As the warm air rises, other air is drawn in by the low pressure left behind. Any residual vorticity in the incoming air gets magnified by conservation of angular momentum, like a spinning ice skater pulling her arms in. This creates the vortices, which are made visible by entrained steam and/or moisture condensing from the rising air. (Photo credit: B. Omori, via HPOTD; submitted by jshoer)
The above picture is one of the best caught images of a waterspout, a type of tornado that occurs over water. Waterspouts are spinning columns of rising moist air that typically form over warm water. They can be as dangerous as tornadoes, with some featuring wind speeds of over 200 kilometers per hour. Some waterspouts are relatively transparent and only initially visible when an unusual pattern is spotted on the water’s surface.This waterspout was spotted near Tampa Bay, Florida. The area of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida is arguably the most active in the world for the occurrence of waterspouts, with hundreds forming each year. Some people believe large waterspouts are the cause of the unusual disappearances and disasters suffered by planes and ships in the Bermuda Triangle.
A waterspout is an intense columnar vortex that occurs over a body of water, connected to a cumuliform cloud. In the common form, it is a non-supercell tornado over water.
Waterspouts do not suck up water; the water seen in the main funnel cloud is actually water droplets formed by condensation.
We love a good waterspout photo. This one was captured in Florida!
A waterspout is a weather phenomenon similar to a weak tornado, but occurring exclusively on water. The spout does not suck up water from below, but contains water in the form of condensation. Still, don’t get caught under one–you’ll probably drown!
This incredible picture is of a waterspout, which is a type of tornado that typically occurs over warm water. Waterspouts can feature wind speeds over 200 km per hour, and it’s been speculated that they are responsible for some of the losses associated with the Bermuda Triangle.