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Welcome to Hong Kong Observatory's Satellite Image Gallery!

Here, you can find images of significant weather events and interesting phenomena captured by satellites (GMS, NOAA, FY-1 and EOS satellites) over the Asia-Pacific region. The topics include calamities such as typhoons and severe floods, as well as other interesting phenomena such as fog banks and hill fires. Members of the public may recall the 4 direct hits by tropical cyclones in 1999 and the record rainfall of 3,343.0 mm as recently as 1997, with damage amounting to hundreds of million dollars or more. In addition to the purpose of public education, this gallery aims at heightening public awareness towards disaster preparedness.

The images are specially enhanced by the Hong Kong Observatory for your viewing. The enhancement is done by assigning different colours (red, blue or green) to images taken by different frequency channels on the satellite. These images are then suitably combined to bring out features of interest. The resulting composite image is called a 'false colour image'. Please see Notes for the advanced reader.

radar gallery
Tropical Cyclone Event Date Description
Tropical Storm Kompasu 16 July 2004 Kompasu was the only tropical cyclone in 2004 necessitating the issuance of No. 8 Gale or Storm Signal in Hong Kong.
Typhoons in Northern and Southern Hemispheres 28 December 2002 and
16 April 2003
Typhoons in Northern and Southern Hemispheres have opposite sense of rotation.
Flight of typhoon trio 31 August 2002 Three typhoons hitting the western North Pacific simultaneously.
Typhoon Haiyan over the East China Sea 16 October 2001 Haiyan at the peak of its strength and tracking northeastward.


Heavy rain / Flood Event Date Description
Flooding over Eastern China at the wake of Tropical Storm Mindulle

30 June 2004 and

4 July 2004

Tropical Storm Mindulle skirted along the coast of Eastern China in early July 2004, bringing torrential rain to that region.
A very localized rainstorm 18 October 2002 Autumnal weather in Hong Kong is usually dry with plenty of sunshine. 18 October 2002, however, was an exception.
Flooding near Dongting Hu, Hunan Province 27 August 2002 Central China affected by disastrous floods in August 2002.
Disastrous floods across Southeast Asia 26 September 2000 One of the most disastrous floods in recent decades hitting four countries in Southeast Asia.


Dust storms / Fire / Volcanic ash Event Date Description
Hill fire in Guangdong 16 January 2005 Hill fire broke out in inland Guangdong on 16 January 2005.
Haze over Pearl River Delta in Autumn

30 October 2004 and

1 November 2004

An easterly airstream prevailed over Hong Kong on 30 October 2004, holding off the haze to the northwest.
Eruption of Ruang Volcano, Indonesia 25 September 2002 Eruption of Ruang Volcano sent volcanic ash to a height of 15 km.
Wildfires in New South Wales, Australia 4 December 2002 New South Wales, Australia experienced one of the most violent wildfires for many years.
Dust storms over northeastern China 8 April 2002 Dust storms extensively affecting the northeastern part of China.
Dust storms reaching the East China Sea
21 March 2002
Dust storms from northern China reaching the East China Sea.
Hill fire 27 November 2001 Hill fires affecting southern China under a very dry airstream.
Eruption of Miyakejima Volcano 10 August 2000 Volcanic ash from Miyakejima Volcano in August 2000 soaring to great heights in the atmosphere.


Fog Event Date Description
Fog over the Pearl River Delta 6 March 2006 Fog shrouded Hong Kong, lowering visibility to 200 m.
Fog along coastal region of Guangdong 15 February 2006 Sea fog lingering along the coast of Guangdong.
Fog over southeastern coast of China 12-13 January 2006 Widespread fog covering southeastern coast of China and the adjacent waters.
Fog over the coastal areas of Guangdong 17 January 2002 Widespread fog affecting Hong Kong and the adjacent waters.


Miscellaneous Event Date Description
Fair weather cumulus along coast of Guangdong 28 October 2004 This is a high-resolution image captured by an Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite on 28 October 2004.
Cold Front 7 March 2003 A sharp edge of cloud marking the location of a southward-moving cold front.
Vortex streets 15 January 2003 Vortex street appearing downwind of Cheju Island under wintry prevailing winds.
Fengyun-1D satellite image 15 August 2002 The first Fengyun-1D satellite image received by the Hong Kong Observatory.
Sun Glint 18 June 2002 Reflection of sunlight over a relatively calm sea.
Fohn Effect 8 January 2002 Under the influence of easterly winds, Fohn effect appeared over Luzon, the Philippines.
Condensation Trails 22 October 2001 Condensation trails (contrails) produced by aircraft.
Urban development around the Pearl River Estuary 15 October 2001 Extensive urban development witnessed around the Pearl River Estuary areas.

*Notes:

  • GMS-5, which stands for Geostationary Meteorological Satellite 5, is operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency. It is located above the Equator at longitude 140oE, and some 35,800 km away. As it follows the Earth's rotation closely, it is stationary relative to the Earth's surface (hence the name 'geostationary'). This enables it to view, and obtain images of, the same part of the Earth all the time.

  • NOAA and FY-1 satellites are polar-orbiting meteorological satellites which are operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the China Meteorological Administration respectively. They revolve around the Earth along paths roughly passing over the poles. As they move, they obtain images of different parts of the Earth. One to two images are normally received in Hong Kong from each satellite every day. Orbiting at several hundred kilometres aloft, these satellites are closer to the Earth than geostationary ones and thus produce images of higher resolution.

  • Terra and Aqua are polar-orbiting satellites of the Earth Observing System (EOS) operated by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). They revolve around the Earth along paths passing over the polar region. As they move, they take pictures of different parts of the Earth. Two images are normally received in Hong Kong from each satellite every day.

Notes for the advanced reader


Last revision date: <18 Dec 2012>