Aqua MODIS true color image of Japan, 20 February 2004.
MODIS corresponding snow map of Japan, 20 February 2004.
Snow marches down the mountains of central Japan's Honshu Island, shown here in this true-color Aqua MODIS image from February 20, 2004. The rest of Honshu remains snow-free, with much of the land covered in dark green vegetation. Two thirds of Japan is covered by mountains, many of which are volcanoes. They limit arable land severely, such that only 11% Japan's surfaces can be used for agriculture. The mountains also force the majority of the population into large cities, such as Tokyo.
Tokyo is Japan's capital city, and is part of the world's most populous metropolitan region. A thin haze of grayish-blue smog lies over the region, which is visible to the left of the thick cloud bank on central Honshu's eastern side. Also shown are three other large Japanese islands: Hokkaido (upper right corner, covered in snow), Shikoku (due south of the southern end of Honshu), and Kyushu (lower left corner, snow-free). The tiny red dot toward the southern end of Honshu marks the location where MODIS detected a fire.
Text courtesy of NASA's MODIS Land Rapid Response Team.