Earth  ID: 4687

El Nino Fueled Rains Swamp South America

Since the middle of 2015, meteorologists have warned that El Niño could bring unusually wet weather to Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and southern Brazil. The warnings have proven to be prescient.

In December and January, heavy summer rains swamped this part of South America causing the Uruguay, Paraguay and Paraná rivers to swell beyond flood stage. As of January 15, 2016, floods had displaced more than 150,000 people in what some observers are calling the worst floods to affect the region in decades.

Paraguay has been hit the hardest. More than 100,000 people have been evacuated, mostly from Asunción, the capital city. Many of these people are now living in temporary shelters throughout the city. Some of the hardest hit neighborhoods were Los Baños and Bañado Norte, both of which are located along the river.

On January 7, water levels in Asunción rose as high as 7.84 meters (25.72 feet). Authorities issue flood warning when water reaches 4.5 meters. By the time the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) acquired this image on January 12, 2016, waters had dropped to 7.6 meters, still well above flood stage. For comparison, the lower image shows the same area on January 12, 2014, when water levels were more typical.

Even as waters subside, public health threats will persist. In January, Paraguay’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare declared an alert for Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika, viral diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Other NASA satellites, Aqua and Terra, carry sensors that collect data that can be used to produce near real-time flood maps.

Visualization Credits

Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC): Lead Visualizer
Laurence Schuler (ADNET): Technical Support
Ian Jones (ADNET): Technical Support
Jesse Allen (SSAI): Data Visualizer
Adam P. Voiland (SSAI): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Landsat-8/OLI/Band Combination 2,3,4 also referred to as: True Color
Observed Data - Jan 12, 2016
EO-1/ALI/True Color
Jan 24, 2014
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

SVS >> El Nino
DLESE >> Hydrology
SVS >> Landsat
DLESE >> Natural hazards
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Surface Water >> Floods
GCMD >> Location >> Argentina
GCMD >> Location >> Paraguay
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version