Wave clouds over the Pacific Ocean Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a series of undulating cloud bands, or wave clouds, over the Pacific Ocean near Baja California.
According to NASA, wave clouds are the product of atmospheric gravity waves that typically form when something forces a mass of air upward.
The image was captured on October 4, 2020 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth’s oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east. At 165,250,000 square kilometers (63,800,000 square miles) in the area (as defined with a southern Antarctic border), this largest division of the World Ocean—and, in turn, the hydrosphere—covers about 46% of Earth’s water surface and about 32% of its total surface area, making it larger than all of Earth’s land area combined (148,000,000 square kilometers). The centers of both the Water Hemisphere and the Western Hemisphere are in the Pacific Ocean. Ocean circulation (caused by the Coriolis effect) subdivides it into two largely independent volumes of water, which meet at the equator
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory