Visualising cloud coverage
Clouds play an important role in the balance of energy that enters and leaves the climate system. They bring rain, which plants and animals need to live, they reflect sunlight back into space, while also absorbing heat that radiates from the Earth's surface.
This model highlights what fraction of an area was cloudy on average during the month of November 2021.
Colours range from blue where there are no clouds, to white where it is 100% cloudy. From month to month, a band of cloud encircles the equator. This band of persistent cover is called the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the place where trade winds converge. The meeting of the winds pushes warm air high into the atmosphere.
Imagery produced by the NASA Earth Observations team using data provided by the MODIS Land Science Team.