Contrail Above Northern Iraq

March 07, 2007

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Provided by: JoAnn Kawamoto
Summary authors & editors: JoAnn Kawamoto

I was walking to work in the clear, crisp early morning air and happened to notice this intriguing contrail. Though beautiful sunrises and sunsets aren't unusual in northern Iraq, where this photo was taken, this loopy vapor trail captured my attention. It was likely caused by strong wind shear in the upper atmosphere (above 20,000 ft or about 6,000 m). Sufficient moisture at the level of this aircraft enabled its trail to be traced. The darkened cloud deck at lower right (southeast) is lower than the puce colored contrail, which is partially illuminated by the Sun -- still below the horizon at ground level. See also the Earth Science Picture of the Day for December 5, 2006.

Photo taken on December 10, 2006, with a Kodak Easy Share Digital camera 5.1 MP 3x Optical Zoom.

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