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Ocean Sunglint Trails

There were some spectacular trails of 'sunglint' to the lee of Canary Islands yesterday (18 May 2017), as seen by NASA MODIS Terra satellite sensor. Sunglint is the isotropic reflection of the sun's rays from a still water surface (isotropic means it has a preferred direction). In this case, the wind was blowing strongly from the north/north-east, and in the lee of the mountainous islands, the sea is more sheltered from the wind. Thus it is smoother and hence reflects more sunlight back to the satellite sensor.

Looking more closely, one can see the actual impression of the lee atmospheric gravity waves on the sea surface (these are not regular ocean waves - instead these have wavelengths of several kilometres).


@eddy_weather, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, 19 mayo 2017