Electricity Losses in Northeastern Japan

Electricity Losses in Northeastern Japan
  • Credit:

    Image courtesy NOAA National Geophysical Data Center. Caption by Michon Scott.

One of the consequences of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan was the widespread loss of electricity. Multiple areas along the coast experienced power losses, particularly around the city of Sendai. On March 12, 2011, satellite F-18 of the U.S. Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) observed electricity losses in parts of northeastern Japan.

This composite image compares observations after the earthquake to images of lights observed in 2010. Yellow indicates lights that were functioning in both 2010 and 2011, and includes Tokyo and areas to the south and west. Red indicates power outages detected on March 12, 2011, compared to data from 2010. Areas of power loss include Sendai, and coastal locations north of Tokyo. Blue indicates clouds, and that blue also tints some of the yellow-lit areas to green. Magenta (visible south and west in the large image) indicates lights obscured by clouds. Bright green spots also may indicate new lights detected in 2011 that were not observed in 2010; some are visible in coastal areas north of Sendai.

  1. References

  2. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Japan Earthquake and Tsunami March 2011. National Geophysical Data Center. Accessed March 19, 2011.

Images & Animations


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  • JPEG 2 MB

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  • Data Date:

    March 12, 2011
  • Visualization Date:

    March 19, 2011
  • Sensor(s):

    Aircraft Sensors - DMS


NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration