Minimize Rare Fair Skies Over All of the UK and Ireland

The United Kingdom and Ireland are among the cloudiest places on Earth. Air masses from the Arctic, southern and northern Europe, the Maritimes, and the Gulf Stream all come crashing together in this region. Yet in late June 2018, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales all bathed in a rare day of cloud-free skies.

On June 27, 2018, satellites captured the data for the natural-color image below. It is a composite of scenes acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite and by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. While the islands on that day were cloudless, the seas around them were blanketed by lumpy marine stratocumulus clouds. Note, too, the phytoplankton bloom in the North Sea.

The one blemish on the image is the thick smoke from the Saddleworth Moor fire near Stalybridge, England. Fires spread across nearly 7 square miles of moorlands.

View the full resolution image.

Credit: NASA

Cloud free UK


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