Summer Storm Along the Shore

May 21, 2010

Summerstorm long island

Photographer: Jay Morena
Summary Author: Jay Morena; Jim Foster

May 2010 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's Choice

The photo above shows a summer thunderstorm approaching Cedar Beach on Long Island, New York, just as the Sun was beginning to set. The exquisite red-orange coloring of the sky is a product of the low Sun and optically thick storm clouds. When the Sun is close to the horizon, the pathlength of light is considerably increased. This lengthening of the path that the sunlight must travel effectively scatters the shorter wavelength colors (greens, blues and violets) from our view. If storm clouds are present, as was the case this early summer’s day, the coloring can be especially dramatic. Multiple scattering of sunlight by the myriad water vapor molecules further attenuates sunlight, but the longer wavelength photons (yellows, oranges, reds) are nonetheless less likely to be scattered than the shorter wavelength photons. Note the shaft of rain in the background at far right. Photo taken on June 22, 2007.

Photo details: Camera Maker: SONY; Camera Model: CYBERSHOT; Image Date: 2007-06-22 20:21:28 -0400; Focal Length: 9.7mm; Aperture: f/2.0; Exposure Time: 0.033 s (1/30); ISO equiv: 120; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; Exposure: program (Auto); Light Source: Unknown; Flash Fired: No; Color Space: sRedGreebBlue.