Sunlight in the sea from the satellite “Terra”

On July 6, 2017, the MODIS spectroradiometer on board the Terra satellite photographed the sunlight reflected in the sea around Crete and the Aegean Islands.

The phenomenon of sunlight is optical focus. Places where the surface of the sea is smooth reflect more sunlight back into the satellite chamber. And vice versa: the areas where waves are raging seem to be darker, since light is scattered in different directions.

Dry cool wind from the north – meltem – often blows over the Aegean Sea in summer. On the leeward side of the islands, this wind drives the water and mixes it. When air masses meet with islands and their stony mountain peaks, a “wind shadow” with calmer winds (and waves) is formed on the other side of land. In this case – on the south.

Dark areas among bright bands indicate wind, water waves or gaps in geological relief formations that block the wind.