Meteorologists break convective clouds into two main groups: closed-celled and open-celled. On February 1, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired an image that juxtaposes both types. Closed-cell clouds look similar to a capped honeycomb from above, with opaque cumulus clouds at the center of the cells. Open-celled clouds have the opposite look. Rather than being at the center of a cell, lines of clouds trace the cell borders, leaving the centers cloud-free. The main difference between the two cloud types relates to the flow of air. Moist, warm air rises in the center of closed cells and sinks around the edges. Open-cell clouds have air sinking in the center of cells and rising along the edges. Uninterrupted decks of closed-cell clouds generally produce little to no rain, whereas open cells open up as rain begins to fall. In this image, rain is likely falling in the linear band of open-celled clouds that cuts through the center of the image.
Pacific OceanCategory: Space