Menace of the Mekong: Finding the Floodwaters

Project Team: Southeast Asia Disasters Team
Team Location: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

The flood detection product (intensity in a range from blue to red) overlaid on a false-color Landsat scene over the capital city of Cambodia. Image Credit: Southeast Asia Disasters Team.

The flood detection product (intensity in a range from blue to red) overlaid on a false-color Landsat scene over the capital city of Cambodia. Image Credit: Southeast Asia Disasters Team.

Authors:
Colin Doyle, Project Lead (Georgetown University)
Michael Gao (Johns Hopkins University)

Mentors/Advisors:
Fritz Policelli (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Dr. John Bolten (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Joe Spruce (NASA Stennis Space Center)
Matt Handy (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Stu Fry (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Past/Other Contributors:
Jason Abkowitz (University of Maryland, College Park)
Alexa Nieves (University of Maryland, College Park)
Sam Weber (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

Abstract:
Extreme floods in the Lower Mekong Water Basin (LMB) during typhoons and excessive rainfall events have cost millions of dollars in damages, affecting the well-being of LMB residents. This study assessed the ability to use the Aqua/Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) 250 m resolution-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) changes to map flood and drought impact across the entire LMB. Leveraging the lower NDVI values of water, the NDVI of the January dry season compared to the wet season flood events reveals drastic decreases in NDVI due to flooding, allowing for the visualization of the degree of flood impact in the region. In addition, the NDVI change product was automated to update in near-real time, and integrated into the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites Disaster Risk Management Observation Strategy (CEOS DRM) within a Web-based ‘Flood Dashboard,’ along with other flood mapping and weather data products. This flood dashboard provides all of the necessary data to monitor floods and flood impacts in near-real time, and a platform for further data aggregation for flood prediction modeling and post-event assessment.

 

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