Meteosat's view of the cloud cover during the 15th leg of the Round-the-World Solar Flight in June 2016.
By HansPeter Roesli (Switzerland)
On her 15th leg of the Round-the-World Solar Flight, powered only by the sun, the plane Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) crossed the Atlantic from New York to Seville in three days from 20 to 23 June.
On the third day the trajectory led from the Azores to the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula. Landfall in Europe was over Faro, and from there it was only a short stretch to the airport of Seville.
24-hour microphysics RGB showing the flight path (in red)
The sequence of 24-hour Microphysics RGB composites from Meteosat-10 (MP4, 8 MB) shows the cloud situation during the last third of this leg from the morning of 22 June to the morning of 23 June, in the south-eastern corner of a robust mid-Atlantic high.
Most of the cloudiness was at low levels (pink coloured maritime stratocumuls clouds), below the flight path (Figures 1 and 2) and not shadowing the solar cells mounted on Si2.
A potentially menacing mid-level cloud patch close to the European-African coasts (red-brown colour) dissolved before the plane reached the area. Also, neither the tail of a cold front, lingering north of the flight path, nor contrails from civil aviation (dark coloured cobweb-like features) threatened the charging of the batteries during the day.