Monitoring monsoon flooding in Kerala with SAR and AI

Kerala flood map using SAR

Over the last several months, PlanetWatchers has been involved in analyzing a variety of events that have greatly impacted natural landscapes and the people living in the region. Our team explored the Kilauea eruption in Hawaii, the Volcán de Fuego eruption in Guatemala and the collapse of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy project in Laos. Our work has been widely shared and offered to those on the front lines of these disasters to assist in the recovery efforts.

Over the last few months, India has been experiencing its annual monsoon season. This year however, has been one of the most destructive and costly, especially in the southern state of Kerala. At the time of writing, there were over 1,000 fatalities and 1,000,000 people displaced this monsoon season in all of India with over 350 confirmed fatalities in Kerala alone. Many of the fatalities and displaced people are a result of rains over the last week in concert with the release of water from dams in the region.

The monsoon season normally begins at the end of May and continues for several months as it moves across the entire country of India until November. Over the past several weeks, the state of Kerala has been impacted with the worst flooding in 100 years as the state was inundated with water.

The image below shows a portion of Kerala with flood analysis performed between July 4th and August 9th, and between August 9th and August 21st. PlanetWatchers estimates that in this portion of Kerala alone, 29,426 hectares (72,713 acres or over 113 square miles) of land became flooded between August 9th and August 21st. The dark areas were already covered in water before August 9th and show details such as rivers and agricultural fields that are flooded.

Kerala area flood map using SAR

We estimate that in this area of Kerala, over 29,000 hectares (72,000 acres) were flooded between August 9 and August 21.

It is during disasters such as this that we see the spirit of humanity in the form people donating food, water, clothing and their time to help those less fortunate. We at PlanetWatchers hope this analysis of the affected area helps anyone interested or able to assist in the rescue operations and rebuilding efforts. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation.

Share this Article