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Remote island in the North Atlantic can manipulate its weather

Wednesday, February 19th 2020, 6:05 pm - The little island that could manipulate the weather.

Meet Lítla Dímun, the smallest island in the Faroe Island chain, located north of Scotland. More often than not, a small lens-like cloud can be seen perched at the top of the 400-metre peak.

The tiny, uninhabited island's influence over the weather is quite peculiar but entirely explainable.

The fluffy, moist cloud that frequents the top of Lítla Dímun is the rare lenticular cloud variety and a very specific set of criteria must be met for it to appear over the island.

island controls its own weather wiki cc Credit: SPUMADOR on Flickr/Creative Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0

Low-level winds flow across the Atlantic Ocean, but things get perturbed when the winds reach an obstacle, like a super-tiny island with steep terrain. A type of standing wave feature develops as air flows over the top of the obstruction, similar to a surfer surfing a standing wave in a river when the air temperature falls to the dew point, the lenticular cloud forms.

islandexplain (1)

Since the atmosphere behaves like a fluid, invisible eddies surround the leeward side of the island and become visible when the air temperature reaches the dew point. These stationary clouds are no joke, and by nature, they're a sign of turbulent air, so pilots will tend to avoid the region.

Good luck visiting Lítla Dímun. Besides the copious sheep and steep terrain, it's quite rare to make it to the island, but a couple of villages provide excellent sightlines on the island of Suðuroy.

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