Active Archive of Large Floods, 1985-Present

Master Index of Inundation Maps

The Surface Water Record

Satellite River Discharge Measurements

River Watch

Other Flood Detection Tools

Sample Images and Maps






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

For Research, Humanitarian, and Water Resources Applications

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

Flood Observatory Mission Statement

The Dartmouth Flood Observatory was established in 1993 at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH USA and moved to the University of Colorado, INSTAAR in 2010.

Flood Observatory Director Albert Kettner and Founder and Associate Director Robert Brakenridge


A big congratulations to the World Food Programme (WFP) for receiving the well-deserved 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to combat hunger, for their contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict. DFO is looking forward to collaborate for many more years with the WFP!!!
See also: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2020/press-release


Flood Observatory Web Map Server


Current Flooding

(Red: Reported major floods during past 20 days. White squares: Surface Water Watch displays)

Whole Earth image from JHT's Planetary Pixel Emporium


River and Reservoir Watch

DFO's River and Reservoir Watch provides experimental, fully-automated satellite-based river discharge and reservoir area measurements.

Twice-daily updates at 2:30 and 14:30 Local Denver Time

See Movie of this Display

River Watch 3


Flood and Drought Affected Watersheds

Twice-daily updates at 2:30 and 14:30 Local Denver Time

System was interupted December 31, 2019 and has not yet been restored.

See Movie of this Display


Current NASA Worldview MODIS-Terra Display


SSMI/SSMIS/AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water


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.


Large and Extreme floods listed in the DFO Flood Archive


Geographic Centers of floods in the Flood Archive, 1985-2010

Movie of Flood Locations, 1985-2016

Recent Floods Mapped:

2020Nicaragua Eta 4970

Index of All Floods Mapped (1993-present)

Survey of DFO Projects and Products

About us:

Colorado Public Radio Interview: "The 2013 Floods Made the Research Personal"

Science Article about DFO by Jason Plautz

Just a thought:

Poem for a Transnational River

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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. With attribution, they can be used and shared freely for non-commercial purposes. Commercial use is available by permission.




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