NASA satellite images have revealed something strange in the sky over Russia's east coast

NASA satellite images acquired late last year captured a strange event in the sky off the coast of eastern Russia, coinciding with an “abnormally low” temperature drop, the agency said in a recent online post.

Captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite, a series of strange parallel lines form in cloud formations east of Sakhalin Island, Russia's largest island that separates the Sea of ​​Okhotsk to the east from… the sea. The Sea of ​​Japan, which is located in the southwest.

About the size of a school bus Terra The satellite, launched in 1999, studies Earth's climate through connections between the atmosphere and a set of planetary features that include land and sea. Equipped with five instruments capable of measuring different features of the Earth, Terra collects data that helps scientists measure the impact of human activity on our planet, as well as how natural disasters affect human population centers and ecosystems.

Through the lens of the camera's eye, it is possible to see Modis The device visualizes every point on Earth every day or two from its position in orbit, and records what it observes in 36 spectral bands, making it the most comprehensive of all the sensors aboard the Terra satellite and tracking the largest collection of our planet's vital signs.

On December 28, 2023, Terra's MODIS instrument detected a strange formation of parallel lines of cumulus clouds over the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. These unusual cloud structures, striking in their appearance, are a phenomenon well known to atmospheric scientists.

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Cloud streets
Above: Cloud streets are visible in cumulus cloud formations off the east coast of Russia on December 28, 2023 (Credit: Michala Garrison/NASA Earth Observatory/EOSDIS LANCE/GIBS/Worldview).

Horizontal convective rolls, more commonly known as “Cloud streets“These odd-shaped structures form in the troposphere when pockets of cold, dry air make their way over warm coastal waters, where they begin to pick up moisture rising from the sea. Condensation of the resulting vapor creates clouds, while cooler parts of the surrounding air sink.”

The atmosphere over Russia's east coast is ideal for the formation of such features, which generally appear in the same direction as the prevailing winds. Over the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, the frigid northwesterly winds from Siberia have been likened to “factoryFrom ice and cloud formation, temperatures on Sakhalin Island at this time of year often drop to -6°F (-21°C).

In images available on NASA's Earth Observatory page, stratospheric conditions in the Arctic were producing clouds with stunning iridescent colors.

“These ethereal polar stratospheric clouds develop under extremely cold conditions and were recently visible to observers at lower latitudes than usual,” Lindsay Dorman wrote. In the entry on the Earth Observatory website Description of the phenomenon in NASA satellite images.


NASA satellite imagesNASA satellite images
Data collected by NASA's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) relayed what it described as “anomalous” low temperatures that coincided with the appearance of cloud lines over Russia's east coast in recent weeks (Image credit: P. Newman (NASA), L. Light (SSAI)) , S. Pawson (NASA).

By the time the cloud streets appeared off the Russian coast, stratospheric temperatures in the Arctic had cooled very low (see above), according to data models released by the space agency's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO).

In support of NASA's Earth science mission, GMAO provides modeling and data assimilation to help enhance information obtained from NASA satellite images, and to provide additional analysis and predictions about events occurring in the atmosphere, as well as on land and in the oceans.

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Additional information about cloud street formation It can be found hereMore information about NASA's Global Modeling and Accommodation Office can be found at the website GMAO Research website.

Micah Hanks is editor-in-chief and co-founder of The Debrief. He can be contacted via email at [email protected]. Follow his work in And on the tenth: @mikahanks.

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