Dust devils, like fire tornadoes and waterspouts, form from warm, rising air. As the sun heats the ground to temperatures hotter than the surrounding atmosphere, hot air will begin to rise. When it rises, that air leaves behind a region of lower pressure that draws in nearby air. Any vorticity in that air gets intensified as it gets pulled toward the low pressure area. It will start to spin faster, exactly like a spinning ice skater who pulls in his arms. The result is a spinning vortex of air driven by buoyant convection. On Earth, dust devils are typically no more than a few meters in size and can only pick up light objects like leaves or hay. On Mars, dust devils can be hundreds of meters tall, and, though they’re too weak to do much damage, they have helpfully cleaned off the solar panels of some of our rovers! (Image credit: T. Bargman, source; via Gizmodo)


Incredible moment a massive waterspout descended on Italian coastal town of Genoa

These amazing pictures show the moment when a giant water tornado hits the coast of Italy. The series of snaps show the stormy skies over Genoa, Italy, as the tornado, known as a waterspout when occurring over water, sweeps over the sea. Dark, blustery clouds can be seen filling the sky as the twister hits the   ocean, with dramatic flashes of lightening and rumbles of thunder taking place in the background. (Source)

This post shows the eye of the hurricane as taken from the International Space Station.

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)

Giant Waterspout Off Florida Coast

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.