Thailand’s Flooding, As Seen From Space

Bangkok residents have to avoid the crocodiles let loose by the flood

A false-color image of flooding in Bangkok, Thailand
A false-color image of flooding in Bangkok, Thailand NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

If you think we’ve been having a wild weather year here in the United States (with droughts, horrible tornadoes, a freakishly early northeast snowstorm, to mention a few events), be glad you’re not in Thailand. From NASA:

Since July 2011, heavy monsoon rains in southeast Asia have resulted in catastrophic flooding. In Thailand, about one third of all provinces are affected. On Oct. 23, 2011, when this image from ASTER, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft was acquired, flood waters were approaching the capital city of Bangkok as the Ayutthaya River overflowed its banks. In this image, vegetation is displayed in red, and flooded areas are black and dark blue. Brighter blue shows sediment-laden water, and gray areas are houses, buildings and roads.

And if it wasn’t bad enough to have your home flooded, have to search for food and clean water along with other drenched city dwellers and have the threat of illnesses like cholera hanging over your head, Bangkok’s residents also have to avoid the crocodiles let loose from flooded crocodile farms.

Meanwhile, scientists are warning that climate change will bring even weirder and worse weather events in the future. “The extremes are a really noticeable aspect of climate change,” Jerry Meehl, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told the Guardian. “I think people realize that the extremes are where we are going to see a lot of the impacts of climate change.”

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