Anvil Tops of Thunderstorms
high resolution image
Sharp air mass boundaries, such as this one photographed by astronauts on board 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 60,000 feet (18,300 m) 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.
Astronaut photograph STS111-E-05451 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.
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