Status Report

NASA ISS Image: Astronauts Photograph Anvil Tops of Thunderstorms

By SpaceRef Editor
August 27, 2002
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IMAGE: Anvil tops of thunderstorms

image (514 Kb)

Sharp air mass
boundaries, such as this one photographed by astronauts onboard
the space shuttle on June 17, 2002, often are the focus of development
for severe thunderstorms. This storm formed in the late afternoon
over eastern China. The sunlit anvil tops of thunderstorms here
are estimated to be in excess of 18,300 meters (60,039 feet), where
icy cirrus clouds form near the top of the troposphere. The distribution
and impact of such high clouds are a significant challenge to scientists
modeling the Earth’s energy budget and climate.

The crew of
the International Space Station is attempting to acquire such imagery
over Florida this summer in support of a large, multi-agency experiment
CRYSTAL-FACE (Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus
Layers — Florida Area Cirrus Experiment). This experiment is designed
to collect measurements of clouds that will help improve climate
models. Such photos have the potential to provide profound, synoptic
visuals for use in describing and interpreting these measurements.
More information on CRYSTAL-FACE as well as other images of the
atmosphere are available at

Astronaut photograph
was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory
at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and
cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway
to Astronaut Photography of Earth

SpaceRef staff editor.