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Super Typhoon Bopha (26W) North of Papua New Guinea – December 2nd, 2012

5.1N 136.6E

December 2nd, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Tropical Cyclones

Typhoon Bopha (26W) – December 1st, 2012

Enhanced image

Typhoon Bopha (26W) - December 1st, 2012 © Univ. of Wisconsin

Track of TY 26W

On November 23, a large area of convection persisted 650 km (400 mi) south of Pohnpei, near the equator or at latitude of 0.6ºN.

The system had a poorly-defined, elongated atmospheric circulation, and was located in an area of moderate wind shear and restricted outflow, due to a subtropical ridge to the north. As a result, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) assessed a low chance for tropical cyclogenesis.

The center slowly consolidated, with a well-defined mid-level circulation. Late on November 25, the JTWC issued a tropical cyclone formation alert after it organized further, noting that the system had developed an anticyclone which was providing outflow. Around the same time, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) classified the system as a tropical depression, about 410 km (255 mi) south-southwest of Pohnpei. At 2100 UTC on November 25, the JTWC also upgraded the system to Tropical Depression 26W.

On November 27, a deep centralized convective cover developed over the LLCC and the JTWC too upgraded Bopha into a tropical storm. On November 28, a band of convection, associated with powerful thunderstorms formed south of Bopha, near the equator, which started to feed additional moisture into Bopha, which lead to it’s gradual increase in size. The band of convection became so large, and organize, that the band began to resemble a ‘tail’ as NASA stated.

On November 30, the JMA futher upgraded the system to a severe tropical storm, as it started to become better organize. As the system continued to intensify, organize bands of thunderstorms, began to develop rapidly around the system, mostly on the western half of the storm, which later merged with Bopha, which caused it to increase in size. Several hot towers also began to rise up near the low level circulation center, with on of the hot towers reaching 17 km (11 mi) into the atmosphere.

A few hours after the JMA upgraded the system into a severe tropical storm, the JTWC further upgraded the system to a Category 1 typhoon, at around 0600 (UTC). It began to explosively deepen over the day, becoming a category 4 storm 18 hours later still less than five degrees from the equator. Currently, Super Typhoon Bopha (STY 26W) is located approximately 195 nm east-southeast of Palau. It has tracked west-northwestward at 12 knots over the past six hours. Maximum significant wave height is 52 feet.

Vegetation Index of Cape York Peninsula, Australia, and New Guinea – April 2nd, 2012

11.1S 141.9E

April 2nd, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Vegetation Index

Australia - April 1st, 2012

This FAPAR image shows the vegetation index of the Cape York Peninsula, in the far north of Queensland, Australia (below) and the island of New Guinea (above). About half of the land of the Cape York Peninsula is flat and used for grazing livestock, however there are also relatively undisturbed eucalyptus wooded savannahs and tropical rainforests. Here, most of the peninsula shows a good (green) vegetation index. Papua, Indonesia (upper left) shows the highest vegetation index (rusty red), while Papua New Guinea (upper right) is slightly lower although higher than the Cape York Peninsula to the south.

Vegetation Index of Western New Guinea, Indonesia

3.8S 136.4E

January 24th, 2012 Category: Vegetation Index

New Guinea - January 12th, 2012

This FAPAR image shows the vegetation index of the island of Western New Guinea, the western half of the island of New Guinea that belongs to Indonesia. A central east-west mountain range dominates the geography of New Guinea, over 1,600 km (1,000 mi) in total length. Here, the vegetation index is lowest (yellow) by the peaks of this range.

Another major habitat feature is the vast southern and northern lowlands. Stretching for hundreds of kilometres, these include lowland rainforests, extensive wetlands, savanna grasslands, and some of the largest expanses of mangrove forest in the world. Here, the vegetation index is highest to the west (rusty red) and mostly good (green) on the right side of the image, in those southern and northern lowlands.

Fly River Crossing Papua New Guinea

7.4S 141.0E

December 29th, 2011 Category: Rivers

Indonesia and Papua New Guinea - December 26th, 2011

Visible as a tan line crossing Papua New Guinea from the center to the center-bottom of this image is the Fly River. At 1,050 kilometres (650 mi) in length, it is the second longest river in the country. The Fly is the largest river in Oceania, the largest in the world without a single dam in its catchment, and overall ranks as the twenty-fifth largest river in the world by volume of discharge.

The Fly River rises in the Victor Emanuel Range arm of the Star Mountains, and crosses the south-western lowlands before flowing into the Gulf of Papua in a large delta. The river flows mostly through the Western Province, though for a small stretch it forms the boundary between Papua New Guinea and the Indonesia province of Papua.

Areas of Convection Near New Guinea

2.1N 139.9E

August 12th, 2011 Category: Tropical Storms

Convection Near Papua New Guinea - July 26th, 2011

This image shows two areas of convection near the equator, north of Papua New Guinea and West Papua, the Indonesian western half of the island of New Guinea (partially visible at the lower left). Both have a distinct, rounded shape but had not developed the wind-speed or eye structure necessary to be considered tropical depressions.

Convection is the movement for molecules within fluids (i.e. liquids, gases). It is one of the major modes of heat transfer and mass transfer. More localized phenomena than global atmospheric movement are also due to convection, including wind and some of the hydrologic cycle.