Skip all navigation and jump to content Jump to site navigation
NASA Logo - Goddard Space Flight Center

+ NASA Homepage

Goddard Space Flight Center
About MODIS News Data Tools /images2 Science Team Science Team Science Team

   + Home

April 25, 2015

April 24, 2015

April 23, 2015

April 22, 2015

April 21, 2015

April 20, 2015

April 19, 2015



February 25, 2013 - Ship-wave-shape wave clouds induced by Iceberg A62, South Atlantic Ocean
Ship-wave-shape wave clouds induced by Iceberg A62, South Atlantic Ocean Image used for Spacing Purposes
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 2/13/2013
Resolutions: 1km (23.3 KB)
500m (69.4 KB)
250m (168.2 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz
MODIS Land Rapid Response Team,

In mid-February, 2013 the Terra satellite passed over the remote South Atlantic Ocean and captured an intriguing image illustrating the effect of a large iceberg on cloud formation. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard that satellite captured this true-color image at 1150 UTC (6:50 a.m. EST) on February 13.

In this image, the large Iceberg A62 floats on the dark water, and is covered by a thin layer of cloud. It is the extremely high reflectivity of the dense ice which allows the bright white iceberg to be seen through the duller white of the cloud layer. A steady wind appears to be blowing from the west towards the east, causing a brush-stroke like texture in the clouds around and over Iceberg A62.

On the leeward (east) side of the iceberg, a pattern of dark and light clouds appears. This pattern looks much like the waves created as a ship powers through water. These ship- wave-shaped wave clouds, however, are not caused by the movement of water, but by the movement of air. As rapidly moving air hits against the tall iceberg, the smooth forward motion comes to an abrupt halt, sending air over and around the icy obstacle. A wave of disturbed air forms, and it rises and falls in marked intervals on the leeward side, causing peaks and troughs in the air flow. Rising air cools and, because the air is moist, clouds form at the peaks. As the air falls, it warms and the clouds dissipate. The formation and dissipation of clouds in the rising and falling air creates the striking wave-like pattern.

FirstGov logo Privacy Policy and Important Notices NASA logo

Curator: Brandon Maccherone
NASA Official: Shannell Frazier

NASA Home Page Goddard Space Flight Center Home Page