Offshore clouds wrapped around Spain and Portugal in mid-January 2021, covering the ocean but leaving sunshine on the beaches. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of the scene on January 13.
Marine stratocumulus clouds form over water, typically oceans, and can have either closed- or open-cell forms. Closed-cell marine stratocumulus appear full and “fluffy” while open-cell forms appear more like a cloudy lattice or lace, with a thin structure around open air. Closed-cell clouds are thick enough to cover almost 100 percent of the underlying surface and reflect a large portion of solar radiation, thus tend to cool the underlying land.
On land, snow caps Spain’s Cantabrian Mountains and part of the Central Plateau. Light gray areas that hang over low-lying areas and seep through valleys are banks of low cloud—also known as fog.