Severe flooding affected large stretches of Thailand’s Chao Phraya River by October 2011. Flood waters inundated the historic city of Ayutthaya and the capital city of Bangkok, among other communities. On December 16, 2011, the Bangkok Post reported a nationwide death toll of 740, with three more missing.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image on December 12, 2011. For comparison, the bottom image shows the same region a year earlier, on December 9, 2010. Both images use a combination of visible and infrared light to better distinguish between water and land. Water is blue. Vegetation is bright green. Bare ground and urban areas are earth-toned. Clouds are pale blue-green.
Standing water covers a substantial area west of Ayutthaya in both images, but far more water rests on the landscape in 2011. While flood conditions show improvement over those of early November, the water is not receding quickly. Water surrounds Ayutthaya and encircles the northern side of Bangkok.