Image of the Week

Images found during the week that show change from our past that correlate to current events.

Flooding in Cambodia

In October 2013, heavy seasonal rains were followed by Typhoon Nari to create substantial flooding along the Mekong and Tonlé Sap Rivers in Cambodia in Southeast Asia. The flood affected over a half million people, and over 300,000 hectares (approximately ¾ million acres) of rice fields are believed to have been destroyed.

These images show the drastic landscape change between May 17, 2013, and October 24, 2013. Floodwaters remain high, impacting all aspects of life in the area.

The capital city of Phnom Penh can be seen just south of the image center.

Colorado Flooding

Some parts of Colorado received nearly a year’s worth of rain in just one week in September 2013. This pair of Landsat 8 images from August 16 (left) and September 17, 2013 (right) shows the flooded South Platte River as it flows by Greeley, Colorado, which is on the right side of the images.

Along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains are Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, and Boulder, all affected by the flooding. Flooded rivers flow from the mountains, through each of these cities, and into the South Platte.

Niger River flooding in Mali

Heavy rainfall during August 2013 has caused flash flooding in the Inland Delta of the Niger River in Mali in western Africa. Thousands of people in this densely populated floodplain have been displaced, and many homes have been destroyed. 

The flooding is dramatic as seen by these Landsat images acquired on June 19, 2013, and September 7, 2013. Future acquisitions will provide views of the water receding and how the delta lands are affected.

The Landsat data archive is valuable for analyzing and monitoring changes on the earth’s surface.

Cubbie Station, Queensland, Australia 1987–2013

Cubbie Station is a privately held irrigation project along the Culgoa River in southern Queensland, Australia.

Once grazing land, the area was converted to cotton production in the 1980s, and water storage dams were built during rapid expansion in the 1990s. The project covers about 240,000 acres of the floodplain.

These Landsat images show the area in 1987 and in 2013, where it is easy to see the water containments.

Madura Strait

The Madura Strait flows between the Indonesian islands of Java (left) and Madura (right). These images were acquired by three different Landsat satellites in 1994, 2000, and 2013.

The city of Surabaya, Indonesia, sits along the strait on the eastern shore of Java. As one of the busiest ports in the country and a main trading location, the city has seen substantial growth along the shoreline. The area has also seen increased boat traffic through the years.

Rim and American Fires, California, 2013

In these images of the Sierra Nevada range, two fires are burning: the Rim Fire at the bottom of the image, and the American Fire west of Lake Tahoe.

The smaller American Fire has burned over 26,000 acres and is nearly contained as of August 29, 2013. However, the Rim Fire in Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park has already burned nearly 190,000 acres, and containment efforts continue. Both fires are burning in steep and hazardous terrain, and heavy smoke affects the surrounding area.

The Bay of Gibraltar

The Bay of Gibraltar, or Bay of Algeciras, is located in Spain at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula and opens to the south into the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea. The narrow peninsula on the east side of the bay is Gibraltar, which is a territory of Great Britain.

The shoreline is densely populated and includes two major ports, one Spanish and one British. In these images, ships can be seen in and around this busy bay.

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