A space shuttle photo showing several of the northwestern islands in the Cape Verde chain in the North Atlantic Ocean, some 800 km (500 mi) from the coast of Senegal, Africa. From the upper left to lower right (northwest to southeast) one can see Santo Antao, Sao Vicente, Santa Luzia, Branco, Razo, and Sao Nicolau. Image courtesy of NASA.
A dust storm off the west coast of Africa sprawls towards the Cape Verde Islands. Six of the ten main islands can be discerned on this image. Click on photo to increase resolution. Image courtesy of NASA.
On a clear day, the towering peaks on Fogo, Santa Antão, and São Nicolau stand out amid the flatter islands of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde). These three volcanic islands, the tallest in the archipelago, stand high enough to generate rain shadow effects that support unique dry forests on some of the islands. The height also helps these islands disturb passing air masses and clouds in a distinctive pattern that can occur when a fluid passes a tall, isolated, stationary object. The pattern is called a Kármán vortex street after the scientist who first described the oscillating flow features. NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the swirling trails of clouds on 20 December 2020. The dry forests appear slightly darker than the rest of the islands. Photo courtesy of NASA.