Images Show Widespread Flooding in Japan

Following the devastating earthquake which struck Japan and the resulting tsunami, flood waters have submerged crop lands and settlements along the affected east coast.

Shown here is a before and after image of  the areas surrounding the Kitakami River, the fourth largest river in Japan, which flows east into the Pacific Ocean. The first image was taken on January 16 of 2011, which the second image was taken on March 14, three days after the tsunami had rolled in.

The images were taken using the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) onboard NASA’s Terra satellite, and combine infrared, red, and green wavelengths of light to form a false-color image that distinguishes between muddy water and land. Water is blue. Buildings and paved surfaces appear in shades of blue-gray. Fallow fields appear in shades of beige and brown. Vegetation is red, and the brighter the red, the more robust the vegetation.

The following images are of the Japanese city of Ishinomaki, a city with an estimated population of around 164,300, and a city which was one of the most seriously affected by the quake. The top image was taken on August 8, 2008, while the second image was taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite three days after the earthquake, and shows just how badly affected the city is.

Sources: NASA Earth Observatory’s Image of the Day & NASA Goddard Photo and Video on Flickr

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