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
University of Colorado, Campus Box 450, Boulder, CO 80309 USA

Movie of Flood Locations, 1985-2016

Flood Observatory Director Robert Brakenridge and Associate Director Albert Kettner

Mission Statement

Flood Observatory Web Map Server

(Also see a sample of Sentinel 1 SAR-based mapping of flooding in Northern California, winter, 2017)

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

Please register! Deadline is May 8! 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.

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

Most Recently Mapped Flood: DFO#4465, Kazahkstan, April 20, 2017 (Google Earth version sample below)


Click on Map Sheets Below for Access to Near Real Time Flood Mapping

Whole Earth image from JHT's Planetary Pixel Emporium

There are two map series accessible from the above index: "Current Flood Conditions", daily updates of surface water extent, and the "Global Atlas of Floodplains", a remote sensing record of floods, 1993 to 2015. Links to associated GIS data are also provided. This effort has been sustained over two decades through support from NASA, the European Commission, the World Bank, the Latin American Development Bank and others to Dartmouth College and to the University of Colorado.


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

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)

New Events

Flooding in northern Argentina, April 19, 2017 (DFO # 4464), Northern Argentina

Flooding in southern Argentina, April 11, 2017 (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.

Crop-damaging April 4 flooding (DFO # 4460), Northern Malawi

Crop-damaging April 8 flooding (DFO # 4459), NE Bangladesh

March 2017 flooding (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)

March 2017 flooding (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

January, 2017 flooding (DFO #4439) in Mozambique

January, 2017 flooding (DFO #4432) in southern Thailand and northern Malaysia

January, 2017 flooding (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

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


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 web site and associated data by G. Robert Brakenridge and Albert J. Kettner are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported 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