Hong Kong – December 8th, 2008
In this image we can see part of the Pearl River Delta, on China’s southern coast. There is a slight algal bloom along the shoreline, as well as some interesting cloud patterns coming from an area of convection further south in the South China Sea.
We can also see Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou. Guangzhou can be seen as the large area with little vegetation on the center left, while Hong Kong is a nearby island and Macau a peninsula.
Hong Kong is a territory that borders Guangdong province in the north and faces the South China Sea in the east, west and south. It has a population of 6.9 million people, and is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Beginning as a trading port, Hong Kong became a dependent territory of the United Kingdom in 1842, and remained so until the transfer of its sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. Along with Macau, Hong Kong is one of two special administrative regions and is not considered as part of mainland China.
The territory’s 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi) land area consists primarily of Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories as well as some 260 other islands.
As much of Hong Kong’s terrain is hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, less than only 25% of the territory’s landmass is developed, and about 40% of the remaining land area is reserved as country parks and nature reserves.
Most of the territory’s urban development exists on Kowloon peninsula, along the northern edge of Hong Kong Island and in scattered settlements throughout the New Territories.
The highest elevation in the territory is at Tai Mo Shan, at a height of 958 metres (3,140 ft) above sea level. Hong Kong’s long, irregular and curvaceous coastline also affords the territory with many bays, rivers and beaches.
Situated just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Hong Kong’s climate is humid subtropical. Its summers are hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms, and warm air coming from the southwest. It is also the time when tropical cyclones are most likely, sometimes resulting in flooding or landslips.
Winter weather usually starts sunny and becomes cloudier towards February, with the occasional cold front bringing strong, cooling winds from the north.
The most pleasant seasons are spring, although changeable, and autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. Hong Kong averages 1,948 hours of sunshine per year.
Macau, China’s other special administrative region, was both the first and the last European colony in China. It consists of the Macau Peninsula itself and the islands of Taipa and Coloane. The peninsula is formed by the Zhujiang (Pearl River) estuary on the east and the Xijiang (West River) on the west.
Macau Peninsula was originally an island, but a connecting sandbar gradually turned into a narrow isthmus, thus changing Macau into a peninsula. With a dense urban environment, Macau has no arable land, pastures, forest, or woodland.
Part of the Chinese mainland, Guangzhou is the capital and a sub-provincial city of Guangdong Province in the southern part of the People’s Republic of China. The city is also known by an alternative English name, Canton. It is a port on the Pearl River, navigable to the South China Sea.
As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 6 million, and a metropolitan population of roughly 8.5 million, making it the most populous city in the province and the third most populous metropolitan area in mainland China.