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North West Cape and Ningaloo Reef, Australia

February 20th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Peninsula, Australia - February 19th, 2009

Peninsula, Australia - February 19th, 2009

North West Cape is a large peninsula of land in the north west coast of Western Australia. It includes the towns of Exmouth and Learmonth.

Cape Range, a national park, runs down the spine of the peninsula and Ningaloo Reef runs along the western edge.

Ningaloo Reef is a fringing coral reef,  of 280 kilometers in length. It is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef and the only large reef positioned very close to a landmass.

In 1987 the reef and surrounding waters were designated as the Ningaloo Marine Park.

It is known for its seasonal feeding concentrations of the whale shark, and the conservation debate surrounding its potential tourism development.

Although most famed for its whale sharks which feed there from March to June, the reef is also rich in coral and other marine life.

During the winter months, the reef is part of the migratory routes for dolphins, dugongs, manta rays and humpback whales.

The beaches of the reef are an important breeding ground of the loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles. They also depend on the reef for nesting and food.

The Ningaloo supports an abundance of fish (500 species), corals (300 species), mollusks (600 species) and many other marine invertebrates. The reef is less than half a kilometer offshore in some areas, such as Coral Bay.

Area of Convection Near Australia

February 16th, 2009 Category: Tropical Cyclones

Area of convection near Australia - February 16th, 2009

Area of convection near Australia - February 16th, 2009

Convective area - enhanced image

Convective area - enhanced image

The area of convection previously located near 18.0S 116.0E is now located near 18.0S 115.0E, approximately 255 nautical miles north-northeast of Learmonth, Australia.

Animated infrared satellite imagery and an AMSU image depict a monsoon depression low pressure area with multiple fully-exposed low-level circulation center (LLCC) rotating around a centroid.

Imagery also shows a persistent area of deep convection along the convergent southern periphery of the low.

A QUIKSCAT image indicated 15 to 20 knot core winds with stronger (25 to 30 knot) winds along the southern periphery.

The Learnmonth radar shows weak banding over the southeast and south quadrants with moderate to heavy thunderstorms just north of Exmouth.

The broad LLCC is located north of the subtropical ridge axis and is under strong easterly vertical wind shear.

Maximum sustained surface winds are estimated at 25 to 30 knots. Minimum sea level pressure is estimated to be near 998 mb.

The LLCC is expected to remain within an unfavorable environment for the next 24 hours, therefore, the potential for the development of a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours remains poor.

source JTWC