A Swirl of Clouds South of Greenland
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image of long lines of clouds, known as “streets”, wrapping around the southern tip of Greenland on March 6, 2012.
Cloud streets are created by cylinders of air rotating parallel to the surface, forming clouds where the air rises and clear zones where the air falls back downwards. As the air cylinders move from above the sea ice in Baffin Bay out over the warmer southern water, clouds form along the rising air channels.
Aqua is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth’s water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, precipitation, soil moisture, sea and land ice, and snow cover.
Image courtesy NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.