the Northern Adriatic Sea
image (260 Kb)
The boot of
Italy crosses the image in this southwest-looking view taken by
the crew of the International Space Station. The spine of Italy
is highlighted with snow and the largely cloud-covered Mediterranean
Sea is at the top. The Adriatic Sea transverses most of the bottom
of the image and Sicily appears top left beyond the toe of the boot
(left arrow). The heel lies out of the left side of the image. Corsica
and Sardinia appear right of center partly under cloud.
The floor of
the Po River valley, lower right, is obscured by haze. Experience
gained from similar haze events, in which atmospheric pressure,
humidity, visibility and atmospheric chemistry were known, suggests
that the haze industrial smog. Industrial haze from the urban region
of the central and upper Po valley accumulates to visible concentrations
under conditions of high atmospheric pressure, and the surrounding
mountains prevent easy dispersal. This view illustrates the markedly
different color and texture of cloud versus industrial aerosol haze.
The flow pattern
is typical of that seen on most space shuttle flights since the
early 1980s and often recorded on film. It shows the slow transport
of the smog-rich airmass eastward into the Adriatic basin. This
is easiest and largest exit for haze moving away from the industrial
region. The sharp seaward edge of the coherent plume of haze parallels
the coastline of Italy. The coast can be discerned through the haze,
from Venice (lower right) as far as the Gargano Peninsula (left
margin, partly hidden under cloud). There is sufficient lift along
this seaward edge to generate a small cloud.
to be a smaller haze mass accumulating on the east side of the Apennines
between Naples and Cassino (right arrows).
was taken with an Electronic
Still Camera equipped with a 28-mm lens and is 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.