From the southern tip of Lake Malawi, the Shire River curves across the narrow African country of Malawi into Mozambique, where it meets the Zambeze River. The lower stretches of the Shire flow over a marshy plain which provides rich agricultural land, but is prone to flooding during the wet season. In 2007, the seasonal floods began in early January, and by January 9, four people had died in the rising waters, said news reports. By January 11, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image, the river had spread well beyond its dry-season extent into both Malawi and Mozambique. The lower image, taken just over two weeks earlier on December 26, shows the river at its dry-season level.
Both images were made using a combination of visible and infrared light to differentiate water from land. In this type of image, water is dark blue or black, plant-covered land is bright green, bare or sparsely vegetated land is tan-pink, and clouds are pale blue and white. To track water levels on the Shire River, see the daily images provided by the MODIS Rapid Response Team in both photo-like true color and false color like the images shown here.
NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.
- Terra - MODIS