September 26, 2010 - Western Australia

Western Australia

The last day of winter brought clear skies across Western Australia on September 22, 2010 at 2:10 UTC when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Terra satellite captured this true-color image as it passed overhead. In the southern hemisphere, the vernal equinox arrived on September 23 at 3:09 UTC.

The white river-like feature in the northeast of the image marks a group of small, thin salt lakes that lie within the Rudall River watershed. The two western-most lakes, Dora and Blanche, lie inside the boundaries of Karlamilyi National Park while Lakes Winifred, George and Ault extend to the east. Lake Disappointment, an ephemeral salt lake, can be seen as a white circular area south of Lake Dora. When full, Lake Disappointment covers about 38,000 hectares.

Karlamilyi National Park (formerly Rudall River National Park) is the largest national park in Western Australia and, at 1,283,706 hectares, one of the largest in the world. It lies on the boundary between the Great Sandy and Little Sandy Deserts. These deserts are vegetated, but the vegetation is so sparse and dry that it does not add any obvious green to the reddish-brown coloration typical of non-vegetated areas.

In the southwest, the light green coloration indicates the vegetation of the Wheatbelt, which surrounds the city of Perth. The city itself can be seen as a gray semi-circle on the coastline of the Indian Ocean.

To the east of the Wheatbelt, the green coloration becomes more dense and dark, marking the region known as the Great Western Woodlands. This is a continuous band of vegetation spanning 16 million hectares and containing thousands of species of animal and plants, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 9/22/2010
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC