Floods along the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries affected residents of eastern India and Bangladesh in late August 2011. The Times of India reported that sudden swelling of Brahmaputra tributaries inundated villages and left thousands homeless in Assam.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired these images on August 20, 2011 (top), and May 28, 2011 (bottom). Both images use a combination of visible and infrared light to increase contrast between water and land. Vegetation is green and clouds are pale blue-green. Water appears in varying shades of blue, and it is silvery blue where sunlight reflects off the water surface.
Rainy season in this part of the world typically begins in June. The image from late May shows the region before heavy rains have begun. The image from late August shows a transformed landscape. The Brahmaputra River flows through braided channels in eastern India and Bangladesh. By late August, water in the channels has merged, especially in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, in eastern India (image upper right), tributaries to the Brahmaputra have swelled conspicuously.