This fiery infrared satellite image, centred about 290 kilometres off Atlantic City, New Jersey, shows the Gulf Stream as it bends and stretches eastward toward Europe. The dark orange twirls are warm waters (around 30 °C on the surface) and the lighter, carroty colours are roughly 10 °C. The black splodges are clouds.
As the warm ocean-surface water of the Gulf Stream swirls northward from the equator, it collides with cooler coastal currents flowing off the eastern US. In the spring and autumn, the colours in such infrared images flare as the temperature differences between the currents increase.