Phenomena

Glinting Off Waves

Sunglint on the ocean surface can sometimes reveal different patterns in wave conditions. In the satellite photo above, we see the Canary Islands with wavering silvery wakes stretching to the southwest. The predominant wind direction over the islands is from the northeast. The rocky islands act as a wind-break, redirecting the flow and shadowing the ocean in their wake from much of it. As a result, fewer waves are stirred up in the islands’ wakes, thereby changing the local surface  reflection properties and making this image possible. (Photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

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