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EarthSky // Today's Image Release Date: Dec 28, 2013

Gulf Stream in infrared

The Gulf Stream is like a warm river in the ocean, but it’s not uniformly warm, as this infrared satellite image shows.

View larger. | This image shows a small portion of the Gulf Stream as it appears in infrared imagery.  Data for this image was acquired on April 9, 2013, by the Thermal Infrared Sensor on Landsat 8.   NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Caption by Michael Carlowicz.

View larger. | A small portion of the Gulf Stream as it appears in infrared satellite imagery. The Thermal Infrared Sensor on Landsat 8 acquired data for this image on April 9, 2013. NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat data from the USGS.

The image shows a small portion of the Gulf Stream in the infrared. The Gulf Stream is like a warm river in the ocean, but, as the image above shows, it’s not uniformly warm. Instead, water temperatures in the Gulf Stream range from 64° to 70.25° Fahrenheit (18° to 21.25° Celsius). The image – which is from an infrared sensor on the Landsat 8 satellite – shows cooler temperatures in purple and the warmest nearly white.

The bright area in the lower right of the image above is likely caused by sunglint, NASA says. It’s probably the reflection of sunlight directly back from the sea surface at Landsat 8′s infrared sensor.

The Gulf Stream carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico along the U.S. east coast, then across the Atlantic, and finally as far as Ireland and Great Britain.

The image above is centered at 33.06° North latitude, 73.86° West longitude, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) east of Charleston, South Carolina.

Read more about this image at NASA Earth Observatory

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