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

Flood Observatory Director

Flood Observatory Associate Director

Mission Statement

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

Visit the Global Flood Partnership (information about 2016 meeting)

Open May 6, 2016: PhD Studentship: A new hydrodynamic foundation for the satellite remote sensing of global river flows University of Leeds - School of Civil Engineering

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.

Ganges/Brahmaputra Flood Awareness and Prediction System

Ganges/Brahmaputra MODIS NRT Current Flood Conditions


NASA MODIS imaging of flooding from Tropical Storm Roanu, Sri Lanka, May 19, 2016

Red: New surface water, May 19, compared to a May 3 MODIS image. Light red: some new surface water within these pixels. Mapping is in progress.


Access Geotif and Google Earth kmz versions


NASA MODIS mapping of early May, 2016 flooding in Tanzania

Dark blue: Winter flow (February 2002). Red: Flooding, May 11, 2016. Light red: all flooding mapped since 1999.

NASA MODIS mapping of early May, 2016 flooding in Northeastern India

Dark blue: Winter flow (February 2002). Light blue: Bankfull flow (summer, 2013). Red: Flooding. Light red: all flooding mapped since 1999.


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 global index: "Current Flood Conditions", providing daily, satellite-based updates of surface water extent, and the "Global Atlas of Floodplains", a remote sensing record of floods, 1993 to 2015. Links to GIS data supporting the displays are also provided. This >20 year long effort has been sustained by grants and contracts from NASA, the European Commission, the World Bank, the Latin American Development Bank and others to Dartmouth College and to the University of Colorado.


Current 7-day Accumulated Rainfall

from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Satellite Precipitation


SSMI/SSMIS/AMSR2-derived Total Precipitable Water - Global


Current NASA Worldview MODIS Display



River Watch 3: Experimental Satellite-based River Discharge Measurements

Daily updates at 14:30 Local Denver Time

Event 2015USA4314

Event 2016Paraguay4315

Event 2015India4309

RECENT EVENTS: Flood Hydrographs from Microwave radiometry

Rivers in southern India flooded after passage of a tropical deep depression: River Watch Site 2041, below.

These Microwave River Watch sites are also tracking current drought conditions: example Site 277, below, Zambezi River, Zambia


Large floods also affect the coastal ocean. Below left: MODIS image of Angat River mouth, NW of Manilla, Sept. 23, 2015. Below right, MODIS image from Oct. 21, 2015, after passage of Typhoon Lando/Koppu


Survey of DFO Projects and Products

Global 7-Day Runoff Maps


Plot of total number of large and extreme floods listed in the DFO Flood Archive


Geographic Centers of floods in the FloodArchive GIS file, 1985-2010


The Flood Observatory facilitates practical 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 SMD/ESD Applied Sciences Program project to improve World Food Programme use of flood mapping information. Click on video below for visualization of WFP logistics. Also see this video for information about the role of the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters in making satellite data available for disaster response.



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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