A thick blanket of low clouds covered the English Channel, Celtic Sea and Irish Sea on March 13, 2014. The fog also crept over major cities in the United Kingdom and Ireland. While citizens living in parts of Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were posting ground-based photos of fog-shrouded landscape on social media, the internet and news outlets, the scene was also captured from space. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua captured this true-color image of the cloudy day at 13:00 UTC (1:00 p.m. in London) on that same day.
The dense fog (low clouds) affected air travel, causing the cancellation of hundreds of flights going through London City Airport, where visibility was reported at less than 100 meters (328 ft) – less than the length of an American football field. Flights were also cancelled at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester. A private helicopter flying to Northern Ireland went down in by the fog near the Norfolk-Suffolk border, with loss of four lives.
Driving was little better in many areas, causing the Met Office to issue a yellow weather warning and to caution drivers of difficult conditions. The lowest visibility of the day was reported at Roches Point weather station. Located at the southeastern tip of Cork Harbor, Ireland, the station reported visibility of less than 50 meters (164 ft) – the length of an Olympic size swimming pool.
In this image, the fog-covered Celtic Sea is located in the southwest. Ireland lies under tendrils of low cloud in the northwest corner of the image. Banks of clouds part around England, near the center of the image, and southern Wales (top and center) completely under the foggy blanket. Fog also creeps over the coasts of France, Belgium and the Netherlands on the east side of the English Channel.