Fire clouds high above eastern Washington • Earth.com

Last update: August 23rd, 2019 at 9:00 am

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory shows a rare glimpse of “fire clouds” developing in the atmosphere above eastern Washington.

The pyrocumulonimbus cloud (pyroCb) is a type of cloud that forms when a source of heat, such as a wildfire, is powerful enough to produce thunderstorms.

“PyroCb are like large chimneys, transporting a large quantity of smoke into the upper stratosphere,” explained David Peterson, lead forecaster for FIREX-AQ.

The photograph shows the setting sun reflecting off of thick smoke containing particles that make the sunlight appear orange. 

The image was captured on August 8, 2019 by NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory as it was flying roughly 30,000 feet overhead. 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

 

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