Normally floods are triggered by heavy rains, but the floods along the Indus River were caused by a heat wave followed by monsoon rains. High temperatures across southern Asia rapidly melted mountain snow packs, sending a gush of water down rivers across the region. The result has been widespread flooding along the arc of the Himalaya, the Hindu Kush, and the Pamirs spanning from Nepal to Tajikistan. Many of the flooded rivers empty into the Indus River, leaving it swollen beyond its normal size. Between June 18, 2005, right, and July 10, left, the river has nearly tripled in size. Both of these images were acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). This false color combination highlights the presence of water, which is dark blue. Clouds are light blue and white.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained by the MODIS Rapid Response team.
India’s Brahmaputra River was already flooded in early August, but those floods turned out to be small compared to the floods that hit the river in early September. The river flooded for the third time in 2007 when monsoon rain pounded northeastern India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh in September.