Flooding in Southeast Asia

Flooding in Southeast Asia

Several months after flooding struck the region, Cambodia’s Tônlé Sab (Tonle Sap) and Thailand’s Chao Phraya River remained visibly flooded. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image on January 8, 2012. For comparison, the bottom image shows the same region one year earlier, on January 3, 2011.

These images use a combination of visible and infrared light to better distinguish between water and land. Water ranges in color from electric blue to navy. Vegetation is green. Bare ground and urban areas are earth-toned. Clouds vary in color from pale blue-green to white.

Compared to the previous year, higher water levels are apparent northwest of Bangkok in January 2012. Water levels are also higher in Tônlé Sab. CARE Cambodia described the floods as the worst in Southeast Asia in over a decade, and reported that 1.5 million people throughout the region had been affected.

As central Thailand slowly dried out, authorities and residents coped with a new round of flooding in the southern part of the country, were some areas were under more than a meter (3 feet) of water.

  1. References

  2. CARE. (2012, January 6). CARE Cambodia continues providing relief to thousands affected by floods. ReliefWeb. Accessed January 9, 2012.
  3. Government of Thailand. (2012, January 5). Southern floods update. ReliefWeb. Accessed January 9, 2012.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    January 8, 2012
  • Visualization Date:

    January 9, 2012
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MODIS


NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration