Deep space observations of sun glint over oceans

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



Every hour or two, the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) onboard the DSCOVR satellite provides unique full-color images of the sunlit side of the Earth from the L1 Lagrangian point, which is four times farther the Moon. Casual glances at such images often reveal bright colorful spots that stand out markedly from their surroundings. Such spots often appear not only over ocean but also over land. Tracking the colorful spots using an automated image analysis algorithm reveals that they are caused by specular reflection of sunlight, sometimes from ocean surfaces and other times from clouds containing horizontally oriented ice crystals. The presented study characterizes these spots in terms of prevalence, location, color, and brightness, and provides insights into the factors that lead to their appearance.

Publication Title

15th Conference on Cloud Physics