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Clouds

Above and Beyond: Ship Tracks Above the Pacific

How do ship tracks form in the clouds in the sky?
Credits

All programs produced by: Space Telescope Science Institute, Office of Public Outreach
 
All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA
 
except:
 
·       Cloud illustrations by Marc Lussier, STScI
·       Sea creature illustration copyright The National Library of Israel, Shapell Family Digitization Project and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, _Department of Geography – Historic Cities Research Project
·       Various cloud photos courtesy of Marc Lussier
·       Valley fog photo courtesy of Lucy Albert
·       Clouds time-lapse video courtesy of Ethan Alexander Cook
·       Photo of cumulus clouds over field courtesy of PiccoloNamek, Wikipedia
·       Towering cumulus cloud photo courtesy of Jim W. Lee
·       Noctilucent cloud photo copyright Jan Erik Paulsen 
·       Noctilucent cloud photo courtesy of P-M Hedén, www.clearskies.se, www.twanight.org
 
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music
 
Written by Andrea Gianopoulos
Designed by Marc Lussier
Transcript

(DESCRIPTION)
Text, Ship Tracks, Northeastern Pacific Ocean.
 
(SPEECH)
[GENTLE MUSIC]
 
(DESCRIPTION)
Ship tracks streak across the skies of the northeastern Pacific Ocean.
 
A map of the world with a red dot on the northern Pacific Ocean.
 
Several bands of thin white clouds run in parallel to each other.
 
Text, These clouds form around tiny particles created in a ship's exhaust.
 
Image zooms out and down to show how the ship track clouds appear in layers
 
Text, The ship tracks are brighter than the natural unpolluted clouds.
 
Image continues to zoom outward, with the Earth's horizon in the distance.
 
NASA's Terra satellite has shown that ship tracks have smaller -- and many more -- water droplets than other marine clouds.
 
Clouds with more, smaller water droplets reflect more sunlight, making them appear brighter and reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface.