Cloud Streets Over the Atlantic


Satellite captures nature balancing differences in energy creating an impressive cloudscape.

A winter-like chill engulfed the eastern United States in mid-November 2019, with temperatures dipping to record lows in some places. While the weather burdened some people with delays in road and air travel, the view from above was one of serene beauty.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image on the morning of November 13, 2019. Clouds and snow are visible over parts of Pennsylvania and New York, giving way to clear skies along the coast.

As the cold air mass moved over the relatively warm Atlantic Ocean, it quickly warmed and gained the moisture necessary to form clouds. But these are not your typical cumulus clouds. Notice how they line up in organized rows parallel to the direction of the wind. These “cloud streets” are the result of nature trying to balance differences in energy.

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Image via NASA Earth Observatory