Gigglebit: Cool cloud formations over the Bering Sea (photo)

4 Feb 2015144 Views

Cloud streets over the Bering Sea. Image via NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

Gigglebit is’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.

Today, we share an image released by US space agency NASA of dramatic cloud formations, the result of ice, wind, ocean waters and cold temperatures, over the Bering Sea.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over the region and captured the true-colour image on 23 January, NASA said.

Russia lies in the upper left of the image, while Alaska is on the upper right. The formations of bright white clouds lined up in close parallel rows over the dark sea are known as ‘cloud streets’, NASA said.

“Air blowing over the cold, snowy land and then over ice becomes both cold and dry. When the air then moves over relatively warmer and much moister water it leads to the development of parallel cylinders of spinning air,” NASA explained.

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“On the upper edge of these cylinders of air, where the air is rising, small clouds form. Where air is descending, the skies are clear. This clear/cloudy pattern, formed in parallel rows, gives the impression of streets.”

Here is the image in its entirety:

Image via NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

Tina Costanza has held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto