Cloud Streets

Cloud streets–long rows of counter-rotating air parallel to the ground in the planetary boundary layer–are thought to form as a result of cold air blowing over warm waters while caught beneath a warmer layer of air, a temperature inversion. As moisture evaporates from the warmer water, it creates thermal updrafts that rise through the atmosphere until they hit the temperature inversion. With nowhere to go, the warmer air tends to lose its heat to the surroundings and sink back down, creating a roll-like convective cell. (Photo credits: NASA Terra, NASA Aqua, and Tatiana Gerus)

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