Morning photo: Planet Earth

It’s a small blue marble we live on

Cloud streets around the southern tip of Greenland captured by a NASA Aqua/MODIS satellite March 6. 2012. According to NASA, Cloud streets form when cold air blows over warmer waters, while a warmer air layer—or temperature inversion—rests over top of both. The comparatively warm water of the ocean gives up heat and moisture to the cold air mass above, and columns of heated air—thermals—naturally rise through the atmosphere. As they hit the temperature inversion like a lid, the air rolls over like the circulation in a pot of boiling water. The water in the warm air cools and condenses into flat-bottomed, fluffy-topped cumulus clouds that line up parallel to the wind. PHOTO COURTESY NASA.

SUMMIT COUNTY — I’m constantly amazed by the stream of visual information coming from the many satellites orbiting the Earth, and every time I see a particularly cool image, I think to myself that it adds just another tiny piece to the puzzle of understanding how we as humans fit into the greater cosmic scheme. Even for me, as a non-scientist, the exposure to the images helps be “get” how atmospheric systems work and how land, water and the sky are really all part of the same system. That’s why I’m breaking tradition today, by running a short set of satellite images instead of Summit Voice shots. Visit the NASA Earth Observatory online or follow on Twitter to get a feed of images.

Ships churning across the Pacific Ocean left this cluster of bright cloud trails lingering in the atmosphere late last month. The narrow clouds, known as ship tracks, form when water vapor condenses around tiny particles of pollution that ships either emit directly as exhaust or that form as a result of gases within the exhaust. This NASA image was also captured by the MODIS system aboard NASA's Aqua satellite.
Ash plume from Bezymianny volcano, Kamchatka Peninsula, Eastern Russia photographed by NASA's Terra satellite March 9, 2012.
Snow across the western U.S. captured by NASA's Aqua satellite in March of this year.
Phytoplankton bloom along the Princess Astrid Coast, Antarctica.
Southern Norway, Sweden and northern Denmark.






One thought on “Morning photo: Planet Earth

  1. Goodness, one doesn’t have to be a scientist to enjoy these pics. The one of the ship trails in the Pacific, Wow factor. Thanks Bob, you certainly outdo yourself each day here.

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