Date: Sat, 20.03.21 12:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 20 March 2021
The stunning colors of New Zealand’s South Island shone on March 18,
2021, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on
board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of a rare
cloud-free late summer day.
The Southern Alps stretch down the length of South Island, capped with
snow and glaciers year-round. On this day, clouds also covered much of
the western slopes and the western coast—not unusual at any time of the
year as the West Coast of South Island is the wettest region anywhere
in New Zealand. Thanks to the tall mountains and the resultant rain
shadow, the area just east of the mountains is one of the driest areas
in New Zealand.
While most of South Island experiences copious sunshine, capturing
satellite images of the island can be difficult due to frequent and
shifting cloud patterns brought by the island’s position in the
“Roaring 40s”. This is a wide belt of gale-force westerly winds that
circle the Southern Hemisphere, bringing storms and copious clouds.
Clouds are so frequent—and so appreciated—that they are frequently used
in common names. For example, the highest peak in the Southern Alps
(and in New Zealand) is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3,754 meters (12,316 ft).
The native name is said to translate to “The Cloud Piercer”, a nod to
the dramatic clouds that so frequently sit around the mountaintop.
Date Acquired: 3/18/2021
Resolutions: 1km (589.5 KB), 500m (1.5 MB), 250m (1.1 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
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