Some features of this site are not compatible with your browser. Install Opera Mini to
better experience this site.
Stratified Arctic Clouds
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Stratus clouds are common in the Arctic during the summer months, and
are important modulators of the arctic climate. This image pair from the
Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) was acquired on August 23,
2000, and shows a region of stratified clouds situated near the boundary
of the permanent polar ice pack to the north of the Chukchi and East
Siberian Seas. At top is a natural-color view captured by MISR’s
vertical-viewing (nadir) camera. At bottom, a stereo anaglyph enables
observation of multiple cloud layers.
The images are centered at about 75 degrees north latitude, near the
international dateline. These high-latitude data were acquired during
the “ascending node” of the Terra orbit, that is, the portion of the
orbit where the spacecraft is flying from south to north. The images
have been rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise to facilitate stereo
viewing, thereby orienting them with south toward the left and north
toward the right. Solar illumination is very oblique, and sunlight is
coming from the right-hand side of the images. Viewing the anaglyph in
3D requires the use of red-blue glasses, with the red filter placed over
your left eye. Information on ordering glasses can be found at:
Dark ocean waters and ice floes can be observed through several
translucent clouds in the left-hand portion of the nadir image. These
clouds are no longer translucent in the anaglyph image, which was
created using data from MISR’s two most obliquely forward-viewing
cameras. The cold, stable air causes the clouds to persist in stratified
layers, and this layering is evident in the stereo view. Near the top
center, a high-altitude cloud formation is illuminated by the Sun and
casts long shadows on the underlying cloud deck.
The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer observes the daylit Earth
continuously and every 9 days views the entire globe between 82 degrees
north and 82 degrees south latitude. The MISR Browse Image Viewer provides access to
low-resolution true-color versions of these images. These images were generated from a
portion of the imagery acquired during Terra orbit 3626. The data have
been resampled to a resolution of 350 meters per pixel, and cover an
area of about 533 kilometers x 626 kilometers. They utilize data from
blocks 8 to 12 within World Reference System-2 path 176.
Image courtesy NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team. Text by Clare Averill (Acro Service
Corporation/Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and David J. Diner (Jet