Pic of the day: Canary Islands ‘swimming’ in sea

A satellite image of Spain's Canary Islands in which they are appear to be swimming through the silvery Atlantic Ocean is up for a Nasa photo prize.

Pic of the day: Canary Islands 'swimming' in sea
Photo: Jeff Schmaltz/Lance/Eosdis Modis Rapid Response Team/Nasa

The 'Trailing the Canaries' image is one of two remaining candidates in the Art Section of Nasa's Tournament Earth 2014 online photo poll.

Captured by the space agency's Terra satellite in June 2013, the photo shows all of Spain's seven Canary Islands.  

"The Atlantic Ocean has a silvery or milky color in much of the image, the result of sunglint," Nasa explains on the competition website.

"Windsock-like tails" can also been seen stretching southwest from the islands. The patterns are the result of "winds roughening or smoothing the water surface in different places", Nasa says.

The volcanic islands of the archipelago act as a "wind shadow", blocking, slowing, and redirecting currents of air.

Fans of the photo can still vote for it to take the Nasa prize until 9pm Friday March 21st.    

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Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings

Nine Spanish regions were put on alert on Tuesday for heavy snow, rain and strong winds, with the country's traffic authorities calling for people taking holidays this long weekend to head home early to avoid the worst of the bad weather.

Spain urges holidaymakers to head home early due to snow and strong wind warnings
Vehicles stuck in traffic due to a heavy snowfall near Burgos, northern Spain, in March 2021. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

Aragón, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country will be on orange alert from Tuesday for snow storms, while Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja and La Comunidad Valenciana are on the less-severe yellow alert, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) announced.

A slight increase in temperatures will increase the risk of avalanches in the Pyrenees and the central Cantabrian mountain range.

Some roads in the north of the country are already being affected by snow and are being restricted to some traffic such as trucks and heavy vehicles.

Spain’s traffic authority (DGT) called on residents in the northern half of the country to return early from the puente (long weekend) marked by the public holidays of December 6 and 8, ahead of heavy snow forecast for Wednesday.

Of the 108 main roads affected by the heavy snow in Spain, almost half of them are in the northeastern region Aragón.

Aragón, Catalonia and Navarra are at risk of avalanches, according to data from Aemet, while a storm warning has been issued for the coastal areas of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Catalonia and the Basque country.

Heavy rainfall is expected in Galicia, extending to Cantabria and the western Pyrenees.