Image: Cloud streets over the Bering Sea

Jul 30, 2013
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

In early April 2013, clouds stretched in parallel rows for hundreds of kilometers over the Bering Sea. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of the phenomenon on April 7, 2013.

The parallel clouds, known as cloud streets, originated along the edge of the , which extended southward from the snow-covered expanses of Russia and Alaska. The location of the was not a coincidence. When cold air blows over ice and snow and encounters moist air over open water, the meeting of the air masses can cause the formation of parallel cylinders of spinning air. Clouds form along the upward cycle in the cylinders, where air is rising, and skies remain clear along the downward cycle, where air is falling.

In the north, light cloud cover partially obscured the sea ice, but its characteristic tendril shapes could still be seen through the clouds.

Explore further: Scientists make strides in tsunami warning since 2004

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cloud streets off of the Aleutian Islands

Jan 30, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Strong winds polished the snow of southwestern Alaska and stretched marine stratocumulus clouds into long, parallel streets in early January, 2012. After crossing Bristol Bay, the winds scraped ...

NASA image: Rare clear view of Alaska

Jun 20, 2013

(Phys.org) —On most days, relentless rivers of clouds wash over Alaska, obscuring most of the state's 6,640 miles (10,690 kilometers) of coastline and 586,000 square miles (1,518,000 square kilometers) ...

Clouds over the southern Indian Ocean

Mar 20, 2013

(Phys.org) —Marine stratocumulus clouds stretched across the southern Indian Ocean in early March 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color ...

Gravity waves and sunglint, lake superior

Jul 23, 2013

From the vantage point of the International Space Station, astronauts frequently observe atmospheric and surface phenomena in ways that are impossible to view from the ground. Two such phenomena—gravity ...

NASA's Landsat satellite looks for a cloud-free view

May 22, 2013

For decades, Landsat satellites have documented the desiccation of the Aral Sea in Central Asia. Once one of the largest seas in the world, it shrunk to a tenth of its original volume after Russia diverted ...

Recommended for you

Scientists make strides in tsunami warning since 2004

11 hours ago

The 2004 tsunami led to greater global cooperation and improved techniques for detecting waves that could reach faraway shores, even though scientists still cannot predict when an earthquake will strike.

Trade winds ventilate the tropical oceans

11 hours ago

Long-term observations indicate that the oxygen minimum zones in the tropical oceans have expanded in recent decades. The reason is still unknown. Now scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.