Date: Mon, 21.09.20 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 21 September 2020
Clouds surround the Galapagos Islands
Often called the “Enchanted Islands”, the 19 volcanic islands that make
up Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands sit about 1,000 km (621 mi) from the
South American Continent and at the confluence of three ocean currents.
The extreme isolation of the islands helped create unique species, many
of which are found nowhere else on Earth, including the wide variety of
finch that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural
The islands are often cloud-shrouded, especially in the dry season
(garu'a) which typically runs from June to November. This is when the
trade winds blow more strongly and the Humboldt and Cromwell
Undercurrent are the predominant currents. These cooler currents are
accompanied by cooler air, which frequently results in the formation of
an inversion layer – a layer of warmer air that traps cooler air
underneath. The moisture that evaporates from the ocean is trapped
within this inversion layer (300 to 600 meters (984-1968 feet) above
sea level, creating low cloud. The higher mountain elevations sit
within the cloud layer and receive rain, often in the form of mist
(garu'a means mist), while the lower elevations remain dry.
On September 17, 2020, the Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a
true-color image of clouds around the Galapagos Islands. While most of
the islands remain in sunny skies, the eastern slopes of Isla Isabella
(west) and Isla Santa Cruz (east) lie under the mist-filled clouds.
Isla San Cristobal, in the southeast, is completely covered in cloud.
Date Acquired: 9/17/2020
Resolutions: 1km (140.7 KB), 500m (462.6 KB), 250m (1.3 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
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