NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Wave effect of thunderstorm. Shuttle image showing the flattening of waves in the Atlantic Ocean, caused by downdrafts from collapsing thunderstorm clouds. The flattened areas show as the lighter blue, circular patches. Not usually seen from space, this effect has been made visible by the very low-angle sunlight which accentuates the surface texture. Cold, dense air from the top of thunder clouds (cumulonimbus) sinks rapidly under gravity, but is usually recirculated by powerful thermal currents. When these are removed, the cold air sinks to the surface and the storm cell collapses, as here. Photographed during Shuttle Mission STS-26 of 29 September to 3 October 1988.
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