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 /images2 Science Team Science Team Science Team

   + Home
ABOUT MODIS
 

April 24, 2014

April 23, 2014

April 22, 2014

April 21, 2014

April 20, 2014

April 19, 2014

April 18, 2014

 

 

January 18, 2014 - Cloud streets off the East Coast
Cloud streets off the East Coast Image used for Spacing Purposes
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 1/7/2014
Resolutions: 1km (1.5 MB)
500m (5.3 MB)
250m (12.6 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz
MODIS Land Rapid Response Team,
NASA GSFC

A cold snap that dropped temperatures 20-40F (11-22C) below normal helped paint a pretty picture in white over the Atlantic Ocean in early January, 2014. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASAs Terra satellite captured this true-color image on January 7 as it passed over the region.

The dramatic, parallel bands of cumulus clouds are known as cloud streets, and are formed when cold air passes over relatively warm water, while a layer of warmer air (a temperature inversion) lies over both. The comparatively warm water gives up heat and moisture to the cold air above, and columns of heated air called thermals rise upward through the atmosphere. When the rising thermals hit the warmer inversion, which acts like a lid, the thermals roll over and loop downward, creating parallel cylinders of rotating air. As this happens, the moisture cools and condenses into parallel rows of clouds.

Clouds streets are aligned with the prevailing winds; the direction of the predominantly northwesterly winds on January 7 is clearly written in the clouds.

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