Active Archive of Large Floods, 1985-Present

Master Index of Inundation Maps

The Surface Water Record

River Watch

Other Flood Detection Tools

Sample Images and Maps






Space-based Measurement, Mapping, and Modeling of Surface Water

For Research, Humanitarian, and Water Management Applications

Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System
INSTAAR, University of Colorado, Campus Box 450, Boulder, CO 80309 USA

Flood Observatory Mission Statement

Help Support the Flood Observatory

The Flood Observatory is a not-for-profit organization within the University of Colorado and donations are tax-deductible. Please help us sustain this work.

Vitae: Flood Observatory Director Robert Brakenridge and Associate Director Albert Kettner


Upcoming Meeting: "Disaster Risk Reduction across the Americas", Buenos Aires, Sept. 3-8, 2017

Meeting Invitation Letter

Movie of Flood Locations, 1985-2016

Flood Observatory Web Map Server

GeoSUR Web Map Server (turn on "LAC Floods" and "River Flow" layers)


DFO is using automated MODIS-based data from the NASA Global Flood processor to monitor the flooding in NE India, July 15, 2017. Red shows current surface water; blue is typical winter conditions; light gray is all previously mapped flooding. Click on dots to retrieve microwave observation of changing river discharge. See also: 090E030N


Sentinal 1 SAR mapping of flooding in China, July 3, 2017 (red is new water compared to May 28, 2017). Mapping is in progress

(WMS: http://bit.ly/2smWx1G; all mapping is now online; final geocoding/correction will occur July 10)

Surface Water Watch and Record

In 2017, updating of all sheets is underway; 030E020N illustrates the new format

Whole Earth image from JHT's Planetary Pixel Emporium

Since late 1999, satellite data have been obtained by the Dartmouth Flood Observatory, processed to detect water/land boundaries, and analyzed to produce flood inundation limits in vector GIS format. Surface Water Watch and Record compiles this information to produce a comprehensive record of terrestrial surface water variability, past and present. Daily updating of selected map sheets is now underway. This effort has been sustained through support from NASA, the European Commission, the World Bank, the Latin American Development Bank and others. In 2017, we are completing revision of all online map sheets to a new format. Each map sheet provides a record of past changes and also present water extent.


2017 Updates to New Format: 030E020N, 090E030N, 100W040N,


River Watch 3: Experimental Satellite-based River Discharge Measurements

Daily updates at 14:30 Local Denver Time

River Watch 3


Flood-generating (red) and Drought-affected (yellow) Watersheds

Daily updates at 14:30 Local Denver Time. Data are from River Watch.



Rivers in southern India flooded after passage of a tropical depression in 2015: River Watch Site 2041


River Watch sites also track droughts: River Watch Site 277, Zambezi River, Zambia.

NOAA Operational Hydro-Estimator 7-day Satellite Rainfall Estimates


SSMI/SSMIS/AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water


Current NASA Worldview MODIS Display


7-day Accumulated Rainfall

from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Satellite Precipitation

Recent Flood Mapping Results

DFO#4475, Uruguay, June 2, 2017

Sample of flood mapping for this event below: Google Earth kmz version.

Uruguay Flood Map 2017

DFO#4474, Sri Lanka, May 24-30, 2017

Sample of flood mapping for this event below: from the DFO Web Map Service. GIS files are also available

Sri Lanka Flood Map


DFO#4473, Russian Republic, May, 2017

Image sample of this flood below, Google Earth view of MODIS-based flood water mapping

Russia flooding 2017

DFO#4472, Tebicuary River, Paraguay, May, 2017

DFO#4471, China (various regions), May 16, 2017

Image sample below, Google Earth view of Sentinel 1-based flood water mapping

China flooding 2017

DFO#4470, Quebec, Canada, May 7, 2017

Image sample below, September 9, 2017/May 7, 2017 comparison, flood water is red

Canada flooding 2017

DFO#4468, Central US, April 28, 2017

On May 4, ESA's Sentinel 1 satellite imaged the levee breaks in Pocahontas, Arkansas (image sample below, water is black)

USA flooding 2017

DFO#4467, Dominican Republic, April 25, 2017

DFO#4466, Bangladesh, April 24, 2017 (Google Earth sample below)

Bangladesh flooding 2017

DFO#4465, Kazahkstan, April 20, 2017 (Google Earth version sample below)

Kazakhstan flooding 2017


Sentinel 1 SAR-based mapping of flooding in Northern California, winter, 2017

Major flash flooding, NW Iran, imaged April 16 and 18, 2017 by Sentinel 1 and MODIS sensors

Sample 1 (with GoogleEarth view below for comparison)

Sample 2 (with GoogleEarth view below for comparison)


DFO # 4464, Northern Argentina

DFO # 4462, Southern Argentina

Tropical Cyclone Debbie-related flooding, April 4, 2017 (DFO # 4461), North coast of North Island, New Zealand

Sample Sentinel 1 SAR composite, April 4/March 11, below.

DFO # 4460, Northern Malawi

DFO # 4459, NE Bangladesh

DFO #4451 from Cyclone Debbie in Australia

(below, based on ESA Sentinel 1 SAR data, March 31, 2017

Also see the DFO Map Server using NRT Global Flood Mapping data (sample below)

DFO #4450 in Peru (samples below)

Coastal flooding (middle, March 27, 2017) during "local El Nino" conditions, compared to March 27, 2016 (left image), from MODIS


March 20 flooding, red, flooding from comparison of March 20 and January 19, 2017 ESA Sentinel 1 SAR data

DFO #4439 in Mozambique

DFO #4432 in southern Thailand and northern Malaysia

DFO #4434, California, USA. Sample of Sentinel 1 SAR results below


Flood Mapping for Hurricane Matthew, October, 2016

Sample of flood mapping in North Carolina displayed via Google Earth

(See also New York Times article)


Flood Mapping for Hurricane Otto, Costa Rica, November 28, 2016

Flood Mapping for New South Wales, October, 2016

Flood Mapping for Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, August 27, 2016

Flood Mapping for Southern USA, August 1-15, 2016

Flood Mapping for North Korea, September 1-15, 2016

Flood Mapping for Sudan and South Sudan, July-September, 2016

Flood Mapping for Bangladesh, July-August, 2016

Flood Mapping for Bihar, India, July-August, 2016

Flood Mapping for Assam, India, July-August, 2016

Flood Mapping for Myanmar, July, 2016

Special Regional Displays (2017: under construction)

Ganges/Brahmaputra Flood Awareness and Prediction System

Ganges/Brahmaputra Current Flood Conditions

Myanmar Current Flood Conditions


Large and Extreme floods listed in the DFO Flood Archive


Geographic Centers of floods in the FloodArchive, 1985-2010

Survey of DFO Projects and Products


Registration is Now Closed for the June 27-29 2017 Global Flood Partnership Meeting.

93 Participants have registered. Meeting Theme is: "From Hazards to Impacts"

Global Flood Partnership 2016 Meeting Outcomes

The Global Flood Partnership is a network of organizations that are developing an operational global flood observational and risk modelling infrastructure: for better predicting, monitoring and measuring large flood events and their impacts, worldwide.

Also see: 2016 NASA Workshop: Flood Response Using Earth Observation Data and Products


The Flood Observatory facilitates use of space-based information for international flood detection, flood response, future risk assessment, and hydrological research. In 2013-2017, it is leading a NASA Applied Sciences project to assist World Food Program use of flood mapping information. Click on video below for visualization of WFP logistics.



View Web Statistics

free counters 

(counting since February 7, 2012)

Creative Commons License
This work, web site, and associated data are by G. R. Brakenridge and A. J. Kettner and are provided here under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.




This work is made possible by data acquired by NASA, the Japanese Space Agency, and the European Space Agency, and funding support from NASA and the European Commission, through the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) project, Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy. The Observatory was founded in 1993 at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH USA and moved to the University of Colorado, INSTAAR, CSDMS in 2010. The institutional support of both universities is gratefully acknowledged.

http://floodobservatory.colorado.edu/Flood Observatory