NASA has released striking images showing China’s Yangtze River basin floods from space.
High levels of rainfall began in June this year. By July 5, flooding and associated mudslides had affected 11 provinces, destroyed 40,000 homes, ruined more than 1.5 million hectares of crops, and killed 128 people.
Another burst of heavy rain arrived from the southeast when cyclone Nepartak made landfall in Fuijan province in mid-July. The storm destroyed tens of thousands of homes and forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate. Meanwhile, weather systems arriving from the west continued to march across the Yangtze River Basin extending and exacerbating the flooding. By the end of July, provinces in northeastern China had been hit with widespread and destructive flooding.
“The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these images of the Yangtze River Basin on March 27, 2016, and July 28, 2016. The second image marks one of the first satellite passes in several weeks that allowed us to see the flooded landscape. Both images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Vegetated land appears in varying shades of green; water appears in varying shades of blue; and urbanized areas range from gray to red-brown. Clouds are light blue. The difference in the greenness of the surrounding landscape is due to seasonal growth of vegetation.”