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Category One Typhoon Nida (26W) in Western Pacific – November 25th, 2009

14.4N 139.2E

November 25th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Tropical Cyclones

Typhoon Nida (26W) - November 25th, 2009

Typhoon Nida (26W) - November 25th, 2009

Track of TY 26W - November 25th, 2009 © Univ. of Wisconsin

Track of TY 26W

Enhanced image

Enhanced image

Typhoon Nida (26W), located approximately 170 nautical miles south-southwest of Guam, has tracked north-northwestward at 10 knots over the past six hours. Maximum significant wave height at is 21 feet. Nida has maximum sustained winds near 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr), making it a Category One typhoon.

NASA and JAXA report that Typhoon Nida is lashing Yap State in the Western Pacific. Most of the rainfall from Nida has been between 20 and 40 millimeters (.78 to 1.57 inches) per hour, with areas near the system’s center falling at as much as 2 inches of rain per hour (considered heavy rainfall). Nida is forecast to move in a northwesterly direction and continue to strengthen over the next several days.

A typhoon warning is in effect for Faraulep, a small atoll in the western Caroline Islands, located within Yap State, in the Federated States of Micronesia. This type of warning means that typhoon conditions of sustained winds of 64 knots or higher associated with the typhoon are expected in the specified coastal area within the next 24 hours.

A tropical storm watch is also in effect in the Western Pacific Islands for Ulithi, an atoll in the Caroline Islands, located about 103 nautical miles east of Yap, and for Fais, one of the outer islands of the State of Yap. That means tropical storm conditions can be expected in the next 36 hours.

Belize’s Barrier Reef, the Second-Longest in the World

April 23rd, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Belize's Barrier Reef and Central America - March 31st, 2009

Belize's Barrier Reef and Central America - March 31st, 2009

Here, the Caribbean coast of Central America is visible, including (from top left to bottom right) the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Belize, eastern Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and western Costa Rica.

The Pacific Ocean lies to the southwest (bottom) and the Caribbean Sea to the northeast (top).

In the Caribbean, off the coast of Belize, Ambergris Caye can be seen. The country’s largest island, it is mostly a ring of white sand beach around mangrove swamp in the centre.

A Barrier Reef lies about half a mile off the winward side of the island. Flanking much of Belize’s 386 kilometres (240 mi) of predominantly marshy coastline, it is the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second longest in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia).

To the east of the Barrier Reef are three separate atoll reefs. There is also a fourth atoll reef, just to the north in Mexican waters. The three Belize atoll reefs are formed on two tiers of submarine ridges separated by deep marine trenches.

Inside the reef the water is shallow, with a blue tinge; outside the reef the water is deep and from the air shows a dark royal blue. On very clear days the reef appears as a narrow yellow line dividing the two shades of blue.

The Maldives

February 14th, 2009 Category: Snapshots, Tropical Storms

Maldives - February 13th, 2009

Maldives - February 13th, 2009

The Maldives, or Maldive Islands, officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls, stretching south of India’s Lakshadweep islands between Minicoy Island and the Chagos Archipelago.

They are about seven hundred kilometres (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka in the Laccadive Sea of Indian Ocean.

The twenty-six atolls of Maldives encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, of which two hundred and fifty islands are inhabited.

The Maldives are the smallest Asian country in terms of both population and area. With its most elevated part at only two meters above sea level, it is also the country with the lowest highest point in the world.

source Wikipedia

The Ring-shaped Pratas Islands, South China Sea

February 7th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Pratas Island, South China Sea - December 3rd, 2008

Pratas Island, South China Sea - December 3rd, 2008

The Pratas Islands or Dongsha Islands consist of three islands located in northeastern South China Sea, 340 km southeast of Hong Kong. They are controlled by the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The islands are shaped like a ring and consist of three major entities: Pratas Island, North Vereker Bank and South Vereker Bank. Only Pratas Island is above sea level; the Northern Vereker and Southern Vereker atolls are under water.

Pratas Island is 2.8 km long and 0.865 km wide. It is made up of coral atolls and reef flats. Brush, vines and bushes cover some of Pratas; the rest is white sand, best visible along the exterior coastline. The water surrounding the island appears light blue where it is shallowest.

source Wikipedia

The Cay Sal Bank, Bahamas

January 30th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Great Bahamas Bank, The Bahamas - January 20th, 2009

Great Bahamas Bank, The Bahamas - January 20th, 2009

Part of Andros Island, the largest island in the Bahamas, can be seen in the upper right corner.  It has the world’s third largest barrier reef, which is over 140 miles long.

The turquoise blue arch below the island is a section of the Great Bahama Bank, a submerged carbonate platform. The extreme difference in color along a razor-sharp line is due to a steep and sudden drop-off from shallow water to deep water.

Upon opening the full image, the Cay Sal Bank, an atoll of roughly triangular shape located is 145 km west of Andros Island, can also been seen towards the center. It is the third largest and the westernmost of the Bahama Banks. The dark blue waters between the two Banks form the Santaren Channel.

Again, the lighter color is due to its shallow waters: the lagoonal surface has a depth of 9 to 16 meters. Its base along the south rim is of 105 km, and its width is of 66 km north-south. It has islets along its rim, 96 in total, except along the south side facing Nicholas Channel, where it has only numerous rocky coral heads. As such, it is one of the largest atolls of the world.

In a geographical sense, it is separate from the Bahamas proper as it is much closer to Cuba (from which it is separated by Nicholas Channel, at a distance of 50 km) than to the closest Bahamanian island.

The Straits of Florida separate the Cay Sal Bank from the United States mainland and the Florida Keys (Key Largo is 100 km to the north). Some of the Florida Keys are visible in the upper left corner of the full image, surrounded by a green algal or phytoplankton bloom.