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Vegetation Index of South Island and Stewart Island, New Zealand

45.5S 168.3E

February 28th, 2012 Category: Vegetation Index

New Zealand - January 8th, 2012

This FAPAR image shows the vegetation index of the southern part of New Zealand’s South Island, as well as Stewart Island (also known as Rakiura), off the southern coast. The vegetation index is generally good on the mainland and the offshore islands, as indicated by the green false-coloring.

Some areas of high activity appear rusty red, particularly on the southern plains and near the coast. The index east of the Southern Alps is slightly lower, as indicated by the yellow false-coloring, although the terrain by the Alps themselves shows a mostly good index of photosynthetic activity.

Southern Alps and Stewart Island / Rakiura, New Zealand

46.9S 167.8E

February 24th, 2012 Category: Mountains

New Zealand - January 8th, 2012

New Zealand’s Southern Alps are mostly snow free in this late summer image of the southern part of the country’s South Island. Visible by the mountains are several glacial lakes. Off the southern coast is Stewart Island/Rakiura, the third-largest island of New Zealand. It lies 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the South Island, across Foveaux Strait.

This hilly island with a wet climate has an area of 1 746 km². The north is dominated by the swampy valley of the Freshwater River. The river rises close to the northwestern coast and flows southeastwards into the large indentation of Paterson Inlet. The highest peak is Mount Anglem (979 metres (3,212 ft)), close to the northern coast it is one of a rim of ridges that surround Freshwater Valley. The southern half is more uniformly undulating, rising to a ridge that runs south from the valley of the Rakeahua River.

Tropical Cyclone Jasmine North of New Zealand – February 11th, 2012

32.5S 175.7E

February 11th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Tropical Cyclones

Tropical Cyclone Jasmine (10P) - February 10th, 2012

Enhanced image

Track of TC 10P - February 10th, 2012 © Univ. of Wisconsin
Track of TC 10P

Tropical Cyclone Jasmine (10P), located approximately 635 nm west-southwest of Tonga, has tracked east-southeastward at 07 knots over the past six hours. animated infrared satellite imagery shows the system has maintained its overall convective structure and consolidation.

The cyclone remains compact and symmetric around a well-defined 20-nm diameter eye. The initial position is placed with high confidence over the eye feature and the initial intensity is based on a congruent estimate of 77 knots from PGTW and KNES. Upper level analysis indicates the system is bordered to the north and east with ridge axes in a zone of low vertical wind shear (VWS).

TC 10P is expected to continue tracking along the southern periphery of a hyper-extended subtropical ridge (STR). An eventual break in the ridge after TAU 48 will pull the cyclone equatorward into a col area causing a drastic reversal in storm motion. Concurrently, VWS will increase and dissipate the system. The available numerical guidance is in good agreement until the equatorward portion of the track where the model envelope significantly spreads. Maximum significant wave height is 26 feet.

Vegetation Index of New Zealand Highest Near Southern Coast

45.3S 168.0E

January 19th, 2012 Category: Vegetation Index

New Zealand - December 30th, 2011

This FAPAR image shows the vegetation index of the southern half of New Zealand’s South Island. The index is highest (rusty red) in the coastal plains by the southern shores, and lowest (yellow) amidst the ridges of the Southern Alps.

Many fjords can be observed along the southwestern coast, as can several glacial lakes in the mountains towards the center of the island (Southern Alps). A faint phytoplankton bloom can be observed off the east coast.

Bright Blue Glacial Lakes of New Zealand’s South Island

44S 170.1E

January 11th, 2012 Category: Lakes

New Zealand - January 10th, 2012

The three bright blue, roughly parallel lakes in this image of New Zealand’s South Island are (from left to right): Lake Oahu, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo. They are all alpine glacial lakes in the Mackenzie Basin, near the Southern Alps. The bright blue color comes from “glacial flour”, the extremely finely ground rock particles from glaciers feeding into the lakes.

Lake Oahu is the smallest of the three, with a surface area of 60 km². Lake Tekapo is the second-largest, covering an area of 83 km². Lake Pukaki is the largest of the three, covering an area of 178.7 km². Visible at the lake’s northern end is the Tasman River.