31 Mar '16, 2pm

Clouds Streets Over the Norwegian Sea

Clouds Streets Over the Norwegian Sea

On March 17, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image of cloud streets over the Norwegian Sea. Cloud streets are long, parallel bands of cumulus clouds that form when cold air blows over warmer waters. On this day, an outbreak of cool air moved southward across Arctic sea ice toward northern Scandinavia. The difference in temperature between the sea surface and the air in this area can be well over 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit). To transport the heat away from the sea surface, columns of heated air called thermals naturally rise through the atmosphere. The air masses rise until they hit a warmer air layer (temperature inversion ), which acts like a lid. The rising thermals then roll over and loop back on themselves, creating parallel cylinders of rotating air. On the upper edge o...

Full article: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=87749&s...

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