April 13, 2009 - Clouds Along the Great Australian Bight

Clouds Along the Great Australian Bight

Unusual cloud formations crowd the coastline of Australia in this image, captured by the MODIS on the Aqua satellite on April 4, 2009. The clouds appear like they might possibly be the remnants of cloud streets, which have expanded. Cloud streets are caused when low-level winds move between and over obstacles and cause the clouds to line up into rows (or streets) that match the direction of the winds. Where the clouds first form streets, they are very narrow and well-defined. But as they age, they lose their definition, and begin to spread out and rejoin each other into a larger cloud mass. That may be what is occurring here.

This region of Australia is called the The Great Australian Bight. A bight is an indentation or scallop along a coastline that forms an open bay. In the case of the Great Australian Bight, which lies along the western part of the South Australian Coast, the bay is created by the Indian Ocean. This bight extends to the eastern coast of southern Western Australia and lies south of the Nullarbor Plain.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 04/04/2009
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC