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The delta of the Paraná River is a huge arboreous wetland 30 km northeast of Buenos Aires, Argentina. This area is a popular destination for guided boat tours. Moreover, the delta is one of the biggest birdwatching sites worldwide. This false-colour image shows the striking contrast between dense woods, wet swamps and the blue Paraná. It combines information from the short-wavelength and near infrared as well as from the green wavelength range.

 

Location: Argentina
Picture taken on May 26, 2000
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+
Band combination: G/SIR/NIR

USGS/EROS; Link: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov

This image shows Yangtze River with its numerous tributaries, wiggling its way through the picture. Between the river delta on the right-hand side of the picture and the big lake, you can see the megacity of Shanghai which is partly flooded. Due to the false-colour  combination of the image, the land surface is yellowish, whereas the shades of dark red or brown indicate water.

 

Location: China, Shanghai
Picture taken on August 1, 2003
Sensor: Terra MODIS
Band combination: NIR/MIR

NASA/GSFC; Link: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov

The Huang He (or Yellow River) in China is the river with the highest amount of sediment worldwide. Over time, fortified settlements and industrial facilities have been built on sediment that had been deposited in the river delta. In the middle of the nineteenth century, dams and levees were set up in order to protect the new infrastructure against floods. Since the 1970s, the river levels in the delta have been falling continually due to the increased demand for water. These two satellite images give you an idea of the modifications the delta underwent within twenty years.

 

Location: China
Pictures taken on July 2, 1979 and October 23, 1999
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+
Band combination: G/R/NIR

USGS; Link: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

Bangladesh ranks among the most populous states worldwide. Located in the estuary area of Brahmaputra, Meghna and Ganges, the land surface of Bangladesh is just above the sea level. As a result of global change, the population will have to face more and more risks from different directions:  Strongly increasing extreme runoffs might cause floods coming from the north, and due to the current sea level rise, water from the south is getting closer and closer. This satellite image shows the 2004 flooding of Bangladesh – an all too realistic scenario.

 

Location: Bangladesh, Asia
Picture taken on October 20, 2004
Sensor: Terra MODIS

 

 

NASA/GSFC; LInk: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov

Heavy rainfall in Queensland, Australia, caused the flooding of Fitzroy River in January 2011. Large parts of the city of Rockhampton were flooded as well. This false-colour image highlights the contrast between the brown water of the river, which is rich in sediment, and its surroundings. The light-reflecting surfaces of the buildings and of the clouds framing this scene are pearly-white. When the floods started to retreat at the end of January 2011, it left a mixture of mud, water and destroyed infrastructure behind.

 

Location: Rockhampton, Australia
Picture taken on January 7, 2011
Sensor: Terra ASTER
Band combination: VIS/NIR

NASA/GSFC (Jesse Allen); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

The Lena delta in Russia is one of the largest river deltas in the world. This image detail shows some lakes and their tributaries. Flowing through Russia from the south, the Lena empties into the Arctic Ocean far north of the Arctic Circle. The tundra wetland is changing constantly and dynamically. The delta already started to develop 1,6 million years ago during the Pleistocene period, the glacial period of the ice age. During this time, large parts of Germany were buried by massive glaciers as well. The shape of the fan delta as we know it today developed approximately 7,000 years ago.

 

Location: North Russia
Picture taken on July 27, 2000
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+
Band composition: R/G/B

USGS; Link: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

In Central Australia, a large area of “ephemeral lakes” stretches across the borders of several states. Due to an average precipitation of 149 to 216 millimetres p.a., the lake basins are only occasionally filled with water and remain dry-as-dust salines most of the year. This image shows the easternmost periphery of Lake Frome in South Australia. When the picture was taken, Lake Frome was a dry salt lake filled with white sediment. The surface of the lake is uneven and characterised by drop-shaped hills.

 

Location: Australia
Picture taken on March 7, 2009
Sensor: EO-1 - ALI

 

 

NASA (Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon); USGS; Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa. Along its way, it turns into the 110m deep waterfall Victoria Falls, flows through canyons and spreads out across wide wetlands. In this picture, you can see Zambezi River (at the top) and Chobe River (at the bottom) during the annually recurring floods. The green part of the picture indicates tidewater while the brown and yellow part signals relative aridity. These two landscape areas deviate from each other due to the Mambova fault: The dry area is located higher than the flooded area in the valley.

 

Location: Kasane, Namibia
Picture taken on May 8, 2010
Sensor: EO-1 - ALI
Band combination: R/ G/ B

NASA/Earth Observatory (Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

Patagonia is a mountainous region at the border between Chile and Argentina. You can see that the glacier (white) streaming from the mountains towards the foothills is interspersed with crevasses. The semicircular crest far left in the picture is pierced by three glacial rivers. The crest consists of coarse gravel, forming the terminal moraine for a long time, deposited by the ice tongue. Thus, the moraine marks the end of the glacier in former times and indicates a retreat of ice. In this false colour image, the vegetation is depicted in red.

 

Location: Patagonia, Latin America

Picture taken on May 2, 2000

Sensor: Terra ASTER

Band combination: VIS/NIR

 

 

NASA/GSFC; Link: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov

In spring, Siberia’s rivers are flooded as the ice in the southern upper reaches melts before the estuary in the north is ice-free. In this image, you can see the flooded rivers Pur (left), Taz (middle) and Yenisey (right). In the false-colour image, red signals ice and snow, white stands for clouds, black indicates water, green signals vegetation and brown indicates bare ground.

 

Location: Russia, Siberia

Picture taken on June 18, 2002

Sensor: Terra MODIS

Band combination: NIR/ MIR

 

 

NASA/GSFC; Link: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov