ERS-2 image of Alalakeiki Channel, Maui

Dr. Pierre Flament, an Oceanographer part of our Virtually Hawaii Team, describes the features in this image as follows:

"This image shows the Alalakeiki channel between central Maui and Koholawe. Over the ocean, the brightness of the image is a function of the wind speed. The image shows the surface expression of the wind jet funnelled by the Kahului/Wailuku gap between the west Maui mountains and Haleakala. The jet runs straight southward from Ma'alaea beach, and is bounded east and west by two so-called shear lines, where the wind rapidly drops to zero (the two fuzzy black bands east and west of the jet). The islet of Molokini is engulfed in the slack winds east of the jet. Outside these shear lines (that is to day, west of the west shear line and between the east shear line and the Kihei coast), winds are variable and surface slicks frequently appear. They're seen as dark delineations (in particular, parallel to the coast off Kilehi). South of Maui and east of Koholawe, the very bright area corresponds to the high winds emerging from the Alenuihaha channel".

Copyright by P. Mouginis-Mark
Curator: Lori Glaze
Copyright © 1996
All Rights Reserved.