Cloud Streets over the Bering Sea

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    NASA image captured January 4, 2012

    Most of us prefer our winter roads free of ice, but one kind of road depends on it: a cloud street. Such streets formed over the Bering Sea in early January 2012, thanks to snow and ice blanketing the nearby land, and sea ice clinging to the shore. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of the cloud streets on January 4, 2012.

    Air blowing over frigid ice then warmer ocean water can lead to the development of parallel cylinders of spinning air. Above the upward cycle of these cylinders (rising air), small clouds form. Along the downward cycle (descending air), skies are clear. The resulting cloud formations resemble streets.

    This image shows that some of the cloud streets begin over the sea ice, but most of the clouds hover over the open ocean water. These streets are not perfectly straight, but curve to the east and west after passing over the sea ice. By lining up along the prevailing wind direction, the tiny clouds comprising the streets indicate the wind patterns around the time of their formation.

    NASA images courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.

    Instrument: Terra - MODIS

    Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

    NASA image use policy.

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

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    Daniel Lie, onesevenone, 1D110, and 89 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. ♫ Lion ♫ 28 months ago | reply

      Very interesting :)

    2. Ed_Winchester 28 months ago | reply

      Beautiful image.

    3. jaffles 28 months ago | reply

      Great capture!

    4. dodagp 27 months ago | reply

      Fabulous image and patterns !!!

    5. forever's a long time [deleted] 27 months ago | reply

      Immensely cool!

    6. Salaatti 27 months ago | reply

      Amazing capture!

    7. Sprengben [why not get a friend] 27 months ago | reply

      Better than good! This photo really deserves to be explored.
      A great Weekend wish!

    8. andreas_schneider 27 months ago | reply

      Stunning image, congratulations on being EXPLORED, Well deserved.

      Thank you for checking out and commenting on my latest upload hotostream

      Via Today's Explore at #176 on Fluidr

    9. jared 27 months ago | reply

      One great space science photograph and all my troubles seem to fade away. Don’t forget that these photographs can be viewed at over 5000 pixels wide!

      I picked this photo as one of my all time favorite 8 photos in Flickr's 8 years of existence. Thank you NASA!

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