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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.

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.

Mountains and Coral Reefs of Papua New Guinea

8.9S 147.6E

March 13th, 2011 Category: Mountains

Papua New Guinea - February 17th, 2011

This image shows southeastern Papua New Guinea, the world’s fifty-fourth largest country. The country’s geography is diverse and, in places, extremely rugged.

A spine of mountains, the New Guinea Highlands, runs the length of the island of New Guinea, forming a populous highlands region mostly covered with tropical rainforest. Dense rainforests can be found in the lowland and coastal areas as well as very large wetland areas.

Also, Papua New Guinea is surrounded by coral reefs, some of which can be observed in the full image to the right of the eastern tip of the island.

The country is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the point of collision of several tectonic plates. There are a number of active volcanoes, and eruptions are frequent

Fly River Delta, Papua New Guinea

8.5S 143.4E

May 27th, 2009 Category: Rivers

Fly River Delta, Papua New Guinea - May 12th, 2009

Fly River Delta, Papua New Guinea - May 12th, 2009

The Fly, at 1,050 kilometres (650 mi), is the second longest river, in Papua New Guinea. It rises in the Star Mountains, and crosses the south-western lowlands before flowing into the Gulf of Papua in a large delta. Here, golden tan sediments pour from the river into the gulf.

The estuary of the Fly River is 56 km wide at its entrance, but only 11 km wide abreast Kiwai Island, which may be considered as being the river mouth. Above this island the river gradually contracts to a width of 1.6 kilometers or less.

The river delta is studded with low and swampy islands covered with mangrove and nipa palm.  The land on both sides of the estuary is of the same character.

The islands in the estuary, on which there are villages and cultivated areas, are flat and  covered with a thick, fertile alluvial soil.

The largest islands are Kiwai, Wabuda, Domori, Purutu, Aibino and Mibu, although only the former three are inhabited.

Islands and Coral Reefs in Torres Strait, between Australia and Papua New Guinea

9.1S 143.4E

May 15th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Torres Strait Islands - May 12th, 2009

Torres Strait Islands - May 12th, 2009

The Torres Strait Islands are a group of at least 274 small islands which lie in Torres Strait, the waterway separating far northern continental Australia’s Cape York Peninsula and the island of New Guinea.

They are mostly part of Queensland, a constituent State of the Commonwealth of Australia, although a few islands very close to the coast of mainland New Guinea belong to the Western Province of Papua New Guinea.

The islands are distributed across an area of some 48 000 km². The distance across the Strait from Cape York to New Guinea is approximately 150 km at the narrowest point; the islands lie scattered in between, extending some 200-300 km from furthest east to furthest west.

The islands and their surrounding waters and reefs provide a highly diverse set of land and marine ecosystems, with niches for many rare or unique species.

Marine animals of the islands include dugongs (an endangered species of sea mammal mostly found in New Guinean waters), as well as green, hawksbill and flatback sea turtles.