Saturday, March 12, 2011

NASA Satellite Imagery of Sendai Tsunami Flooding

Responding in a timely fashion to events in Japan, NASA's array of Earth monitoring satellites have been manuevered into position to gather image-based data regarding yesterday's earthquakes and their resulting tsunamis.

The topmost of the two images (provided by NASA’s MODIS instrument which is mounted aboard their TERRA satellite) was taken on March 12, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. nearly a day after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake occurred.   The image shows much of Japan's eastern coast to be still inundated with flood waters from the tsunami. The coloring and cloud cover might make the image a little difficult to interpret, but the dark blue/black is water.  The shoreline, though mostly covered in water, is still partially visible as small strips of light green.

For comparison, the lower image of the same region was taken by the MODIS system on February 26, 2011.

Both images were composed using a composite of infrared and visible light, a technique that helps increase the contrast between muddy water and land. Plant-covered land is green, pale-blue/aqua colored land is snow-covered. The brown colored regions are the paved surfaces in the city of Sendai.

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