Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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Sept. 4, 2011

Sept. 5, 2009

Heavy rains caused floods in southern Pakistan in early September 2011, including the provinces of Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. According to The Express Tribune, mud homes collapsed in the settlement of Kalat, and flood waters inundated thousands of acres of agricultural land. The Nation reported thousands of homes destroyed in southern Pakistan.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these images on Sept. 4, 2011 (top), and Sept. 5, 2009 (bottom), showing parts of Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

These images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase contrast between water and land. Water varies in color from electric blue to navy. Vegetation is green, and bare ground is pinkish brown. Clouds are pale blue-green and cast shadows.

The most obvious difference between these images is the standing water northwest of the Indus River in 2011. East of Kalat, the water rests on sparsely vegetated land. West of Guddu, the higher water rests inside an irrigation network connected to the Indus River. Water is also visibly higher in Lake Hamal.

BBC news reported that floods affected at least 5 million people across Pakistan, and thousands of rice, cotton and sugarcane crops had been lost. Meanwhile, Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh could expect heavy rain to continue for at least a few more days, according to local news sources.

NASA images courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.

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