Flood

This Copernicus Sentinel-1 image combines two acquisitions over the same area of eastern Iraq, one from 14 November 2018 before heavy rains fell and one from 26 November 2018 after the storms. The image reveals the extent of flash flooding in red, near the town of Kut. Image: modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

Definition

Flood is usually used as a general term to describe the overflow of water from a stream channel into normally dry land in the floodplain (riverine flooding), higher-than–normal levels along the coast and in lakes or reservoirs (coastal flooding) as well as ponding of water at or near the point where the rain fell (flash floods) (IRDR Glossary).

Facts and figures

Floods are the natural hazard with the highest frequency and the widest geographical distribution worldwide. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)  flooding is one of the most common, widespread and destructive natural perils, affecting approximately 250 million people worldwide and causing more than $40 billion in damage and losses on an annual basis (OECD).

Flooding occurs most commonly from heavy rainfall when natural watercourses lack the capacity to convey excess water. It can also result from other phenomena, particularly in coastal areas, by a storm surge associated with a tropical cyclone, a tsunami or a high tide. Dam failure, triggered by an earthquake, for instance, will lead to flooding of the downstream area, even in dry weather conditions.

Various climatic and non-climatic processes can result in different types of floods: riverine floods, flash floods, urban floods, glacial lake outburst floods and coastal floods.

Flood magnitude depends on precipitation intensity, volume, timing and phase, from the antecedent conditions of rivers and the drainage basins (frozen or not or saturated soil moisture or unsaturated) and status. Climatological parameters that are likely to be affected by climate change are precipitation, windstorms, storm surges and sea-level rise (UNDRR).

When floodwaters recede, affected areas are often blanketed in silt and mud. The water and landscape can be contaminated with hazardous materials such as sharp debris, pesticides, fuel, and untreated sewage. Potentially dangerous mold blooms can quickly overwhelm water-soaked structures. Residents of flooded areas can be left without power and clean drinking water, leading to outbreaks of deadly waterborne diseases like typhoid, hepatitis A, and cholera (UNDRR).

Related content

SAM Satellite

Landsat 2 was launched into space onboard a Delta 2910 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on January 22, 1975, two and a half years after Landsat 1. Originally named ERTS-B (Earth Resource Technology Satellite B), the spacecraft was renamed Landsat 2 prior to launch. The second Landsat was still considered an experimental project and was operated by NASA.
Landsat 2 carried the same sensors as its predecessor: the Return Beam Vidicon (RBV) and the Multispectral Scanner System (MSS).
On February 25, 1982 after seven years of service, Landsat 2 was removed from operations due to yaw control problems; it was offically decommissioned on July 27, 1983.

Instruments:
Return Beam Vidicon (RBV)
Multispectral Scanner (MSS)
 

Launch date:
22/01/1975

Landsat 1 was launched on July 23, 1972; at that time the satellite was known as the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS). It was the first Earth-observing satellite to be launched with the express intent to study and monitor our planet’s landmasses. To perform the monitoring, Landsat 1 carried two instruments: a camera system built by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) called the Return Beam Vidicon (RBV), and the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) built by the Hughes Aircraft Company. The RBV was supposed to be the prime instrument, but the MSS data were found to be superior. In addition, the RBV instrument was the source of an electrical transient that caused the satellite to briefly lose altitude control, according to the Landsat 1 Program Manager, Stan Weiland.
To help understand the... read more

Launch date:
23/07/1972

Event

HADR logo. Image: HADR

SSTL, South East Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (SEADRIF), and The World Bank will be hosting the first HADR Challenge Engagement Workshop on 26 June 2020 (FRIDAY) at 3.30PM SGT! Speak with experts to learn more about how space technology is used to aid in rescue and recovery efforts in the event of a disaster and get a peek into how SEADRIF utilises satellite... read more

ICFM8 logo. Image: ICFM

The International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM) offers an international conference platform, hosted every 3 years, to discuss a range of flood related issues and realize significant change in a multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral area. ICFM8 aims at providing a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences on a range of issues that affect flood management, particularly the need to build resilience into future planning.  The conference will identify key concerns and significant challenges of the future as currently perceived by researchers, industry, policymakers and other flood management stakeholders.... read more

Global Congress on Climate Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction logo. Image: CEED
The major thrives of this congress will be discuss and develop an integrated Climate Resilience Ecosystem that will address Future... read more
EO4SD webinar logo. Image: EO4SD

The European Space Agency’s Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) Climate Resilience Cluster is hosting a free webinar to provide insight about the potential of Earth Observation (EO) to support climate-resilient decision making at the regional and national scale.

Earth Observation (EO) data and... read more

Grace webinar. Image: NASA
This... read more

News

Satellite image over the eastern part of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh. Image: European Space Agency.

To support emergency response efforts, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has mapped the extent of floods in Bangladesh following... read more

Publishing date: 09/06/2020
Sentinel-2 imagery of the area on 4 May. Image: CSSTEAP.

Using space-based information, the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP) affiliated to the United Nations has analysed the recent failure of a dam around the Sardoba Reservoir in Uzbekistan. Following a week of heavy rain in the region, the wall of the dam broke on 1 May and flooded surroundings in Uzbekistan as well as Kazakhstan to the north. According to media reports, the breach led to the evacuation of thousands of people in the area. 

The analysis carried out by CSSTEAP makes use of MODIS multi-temporal... read more

Publishing date: 19/05/2020

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