Popcorn Clouds over Rio de Janeiro

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Popcorn clouds—named for their resemblance to individual kernels of popped corn—obscure much of the landscape, but are noticeably absent above the water. 


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Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/.  
  • Astronaut photograph ISS062-E-113274 provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center 
  • Image of the Day story by  Alex Stoken, Jacobs, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146728/popcorn-clouds-over-rio-de-janeiro 
  • Adaptation to ViewSpace by Margaret W. Carruthers and Dani Player 
  • Music from Music for Nonprofits


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Text, Earth Watch, Exploring the Blue Planet by Satellite
Popcorn Clouds over Rio de Janeiro, Earth Observatory, earthobservatory.nasa.gov, Expedition 62, Crew, International Space Station. A photograph from an astronaut aboard the International Space Station shows the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Goncalo.
The cloudless window over Guanabara Bay allows for a view of its largest island, Governador Island, home to the Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport.
The famed beaches of the area, such as Copacabana, line the Atlantic shore.
Popcorn clouds – named for the resemblance to individual kernels of popcorn - obscure much of the landscape, but are noticeably absent above the water.
The difference is caused by uneven heating between land and water.
Land heats up relatively quickly, warming the air above it. The warm humid air rises and then cools to form clouds.
Bodies of water heat up more slowly, even in direct sunlight. As a result, the air above the bay and ocean remains relatively cool, and does not rise to form clouds.
To learn more, go to: earthobservatory.nasa.gov