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Cloud Imagery


All transmissions from GMS-5 are no longer received at NIWA’s satellite reception station in Wellington. We are working on an alternative data feed and will be able to bring back these images later this year. Once we start receiving data again, it will then calibrated, re-mapped onto standard map projections, and archived. While the main reason for acquiring these data is research (ranging from analysis of cloud distributions to improving weather prediction accuracy), a subset of the data will be made available on this website, a few minutes after the end of satellite data reception.

Low-resolution images are available at no charge, while higher-resolution imagery is available for a small fee.

Current Products

New Zealand Region Cloud Analysis

Current images (not available yet)

These images have been coloured to indicate the approximate cloud height. Dark values represent low cloud such as stratocumulus, while pure white areas show cirrus cloud or the tops of large cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds. Middle-level clouds are shown in intermediate shades of grey. The ground resolution of the map used to create these images is 9 km.

Australasian Region Infrared

Current images (not available yet)

Unlike the NZ Region product above, these images show the temperatures measured by the spacecraft directly. The legend at the top left indicates the temperature scale (in °C). Clouds colder than –40°C are shown in colour, and temperatures warmer than this value in shades of gray (black is used for temperatures warmer than 25°C). The recorded temperature may be read by comparing the colour in the image with the temperature scale. Low clouds have temperatures a few degrees colder than the underlying sea surface, but jet stream cloud and active areas of convection associated with fronts may have temperatures colder than –50°C. These may reach heights of 10–12 km or more. In the tropics, thunderstorm clouds may extend to heights of 16 km and reach temperatures below –70°C. The ground resolution of the map used to create these images is 16 km.

Hemispheric Infrared

Current images (not available yet)

This is similar to the Australasian Region product, except it is for the whole hemisphere. It shows features such as the location of jet streams, fronts, convergence zones, and the occasional tropical cyclone (as is evident in the thumbnail example image). The ground resolution of the map used to create these images is 20 km (on average).

New Zealand High-resolution Visible

Current images (not available yet)

These images are available during standard daylight hours – which here means between 0900 and 1700 local time. The ground resolution of the map used for this product is 2 km. These images are useful for identifying cloud cover at quite high resolution. They might be useful for planning weather sensitive activities over the next few hours.

Note: Any errors in the attitude of the spacecraft or the navigation of the image have not been corrected, sometimes resulting in a small mismatch between the overlaid map and the satellite image of the land mass.

Image Animation

If you have software for animating GIF images, you may construct loops from them similar to those seen on TV. Alternatively, read out a sequence of pictures in order, then cycle through them using the Forward and Back buttons on your browser.


For further information regarding the products available on this website, or to make comments or suggestions, please contact: Dr Michael Uddstrom.