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NASA Satellite Captures Incredible Hi-Res Images of “Cloud Streets”

24 Jan 2015, 5:50 pm

cloud streets

Cloud Streets. No, you can’t drive on them, but they make for some pretty incredible images from space. And an instrument — Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) — on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an impressive example of cloud streeting over the Black Sea, on Jan. 8, 2015.

“Cloud streets are long parallel bands of cumulus clouds that form when cold air blows over warmer waters and a warmer air layer (temperature inversion) rests over the top of both. The comparatively warm water gives up heat and moisture to the cold air above, and columns of heated air called thermals naturally rise through the atmosphere.

The temperature inversion acts like a lid. When the rising thermals hit it, they roll over and loop back on themselves, creating parallel cylinders of rotating air. As this happens, the moisture cools and condenses into flat-bottomed, fluffy-topped cumulus clouds that line up parallel to the direction of the prevailing winds,” NASA said in post on their Earth Observatory website.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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