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Awaji Island and Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, Japan

34.6N 135.1E

December 20th, 2010 Category: Snapshots

Japan - December 19th, 2010

This orthorectified image shows Awaji Island (top in thumbnail image), in the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea between the islands of Honshū (right and above in full image) and Shikoku (left), Japan. The island has an area of 592.17 km².

The island is separated from Honshū by the Akashi Strait and from Shikoku by the Naruto Strait. In the full image, the Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge, also known as the Pearl Bridge, can be seen linking the city of Kobe on the mainland of Honshū to Iwaya on Awaji Island by crossing the busy Akashi Strait. The bridge has the longest central span of any suspension bridge, at 1,991 metres (6,532 ft).

Winter Snow on Japan’s Main Islands – April 8th, 2010

39.4N 140.6E

April 8th, 2010 Category: Image of the day

Japan - February 24th, 2010

Japan - February 24th, 2010

Snow covers the northern and western areas of Honshu, Japan’s main island. The smaller island of Shikoku, snow-free, is visible in the lower left hand quadrant, and the island of Hokkaido can be seen, snow-covered, at the top upon opening the full image.

Japan belongs to the temperate zone with four distinct seasons, but its climate varies from cool temperate in the north to subtropical in the south.  Northern Japan has warm summers but long, cold winters with heavy snow. Central Japan has hot, humid summers and short winters, and southwestern Japan has long, hot, humid summers and mild winters.

A greyish haze sweeps across the upper part of the image. This may be ash from neighboring volcanoes on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula that were being active simultaneously in mid-February 2010, around the time this image was taken. It was reported that Klyuchevskaya Volcano in the north and Bezymianny Volcano in the south both sent plumes of ash high into the sky which were then carried elsewhere by the winds.

Honshu and Shikoku, Japan’s Largest and Smallest Main Islands

35.1N 136.9E

October 31st, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Japan - September 24th, 2009

Japan - September 24th, 2009

The Japanese islands of Honshū, the country’s largest isle, and Shikoku, across the Seto Inland Sea, are visible here despite some cloud cover.

Honshū is roughly 1,300 km long and ranges from 50 to 230 km wide, with a total area of 227,962.59 km² (60% of the total area of Japan). Its area has been expanding with land reclamation and coastal uplift in the north, but global sea level rise has diminished these effects.

Honshū has 5,450 km of coastline. Here, cities such as Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo can be seen hugging the shores of bays indented into the island’s southern coast. Inland, a mountain range runs along the length of Honshū from end to end.

Shikoku, on the contrary, is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan. It has a length of 225 km and a width ranging from 50 to 150 km across.

Awaji Island and Osaka, Japan – October 19th, 2009

34.6N 135.5E

October 19th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

Japan - September 24th, 2009

Japan - September 24th, 2009

The large island in the lower left quadrant of this image of Japan is Awaji Island, in Hyōgo Prefecture. The island is found in the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea between the islands of Honshū (above) and Shikoku (below). The 592.17 km² island is separated from Honshū by the Akashi Strait and from Shikoku by the Naruto Strait.

Since April 5, 1998 it has been connected to Kobe on Honshū by the Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Northeast of the island is Osaka Bay and the city of Osaka. Here, the Yodo River appears as a thin, dark blue line cutting through the grey of the city. The river connects the bay and Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake.

Etau Slams into Japan’s West Coast, Expected to Skim East Coast Near Tokyo

32.5N 139.9E

August 11th, 2009 Category: Tropical Storms

Tropical Storm Etau - August 11th, 2009

Tropical Storm Etau - August 11th, 2009

Enhanced image

Enhanced image

Track of Etau - August 11th, 2009 © Univ. of Wisconsin

Track of Etau

At least 12 people have died and 10 are missing in Japan after Tropical Storm Etau (10W) slammed into Japan’s west coast yesterday, triggering floods and landslides.

Etau, located approximately 180 nautical miles southeast of Tokyo, Japan, has tracked eastward at 17 knots over the past six hours under the influence of the subtropical steering ridge located to the southeast. Maximum significant wave height is 14 feet.

Officials reported that the raging waters from the typhoon had killed 12 people in Hyogo prefecture, around 500km west of Tokyo. Police said around 500 houses were flooded and about 2,200 people were evacuated from their homes in Hyogo. Police also said at least two people were missing in Tokushima, on the western island of Shikoku, while public broadcasters announced that at least 10 people are missing.

Recent animated multispectral imagery shows consolidating central convection with spiral bands wrapping around a low level circulation center (LLCC). An SSMIS image indicates a narrow region of deep convection is confined to the southeast quadrant.

TS 10W will continue to track eastward over the next 24 to 36 hours, just skimming east of heavily populated Tokyo this afternoon, before taking a slight turn to the northeast under the influence of a reorientating subtropical ridge and becoming extra-tropical by TAU 72. Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned of heavy precipitation and landslides in eastern Japan as Etau heads north.