For Cambodia and other countries in Southeast Asia, summer means torrential rains as the monsoon season sets in. The Asian monsoon occurs because of the temperature difference between the land and the Indian Ocean. During the summer, the land gets hotter than the ocean. Hot air over the land rises, and cool, moisture-rich air from the ocean rushes in to take its place. When this moisture-laden air is pushed up by mountains or some other source of lift, the air cools, and the water condenses into torrential rains. The monsoon season typically runs from June to September.
Shortly after the onset of the summer monsoon, the MODIS on the Terra satellite detected flooding around the Tonle Sap at the heart of Cambodia. In this false-color image, taken on July 9, 2006, the flood water is pale blue around the slightly darker blue lake. Vegetation is bright green and bare earth is tan-pink. Clouds are light blue and white. If you mouse over the image, you will see a different image taken on June 16, showing central Cambodia before the rains began.
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