Today’s Image of the Day comes from NASA’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) onboard the Landsat 8 satellite and features an overhead view of the Canterbury Plains and Eyrewell Forest in New Zealand.
The Waimakariri River is also shown flowing west to east into the Pegasus Bay and emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The river starts way up in the Southern Alps and has a highly unpredictable flow volume, which can result in sporadic flooding or droughts. Some of the fields are watered by center-pivot sprinklers, which causes the circular pattern seen in the center of the image.
The Canterbury Plains along the river contain sod farms and pastureland with a high number of dairy farms. Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand seen in the bottom right corner of the photo, gets much of its milk supply from those farms.
The Eyrewell Forest contains trees as tall as 40 meters high, along with native vegetation like kanuka trees. The forest is human-made, planted in the early 1900s as a solution to the area’s lack of native forest. But in 1975, much of the forest was destroyed by severe windstorms.
The climate in the area is temperate, with average daily highs in the 70s in January and the 50s in July.
When temperatures cool in the winter, the surrounding hills and frosty conditions form an inversion layer in the air above the city that traps air pollution particles and results in smog. While the smog in Christchurch, New Zealand is nowhere near as bad as conditions in Mexico City, the city air still frequently exceeds World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. To combat the issue, the city banned use of open fires in 2006.
By: Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer