The Bahamas: MODIS true color and MODIS sea surface temperature

February 5th, 2008 |

MODIS true color image (Google Earth)

A MODIS true color image displayed using Google Earth (above) shows striking variations in the color of the water in the region around the Bahamas and southern Florida on 05 February 2008. The lighter blue water colors indicate the extent of the relatively shallow banks (water generally less than 25 meters deep) that surround the islands, where sunlight is reflecting off the sand and coral reefs just below the water surface; in contrast, the much darker blue colors indicate significantly deeper waters (generally 2000-4000 meters deep) where the ocean floor drops off dramatically.

An AWIPS image of the MODIS Sea Surface Temperature (below) indicated that the SST values were several degrees cooler in the shallow water banks (72º-75ºF, yellow to light orange enhancement) than in the adjacent deeper waters (77º-79ºF, darker orange to red enhancement). The cloud streets seen over Florida in the true color image were oriented parallel to the boundary layer winds around the southwestern periphery of a large area of high pressure centered over the western Atlantic Ocean (note the relatively cloud-free “shadow” immediately downwind of Lake Okeechobee).

MODIS sea surface temperature