For the past two weeks floods have ravaged eastern India and northern Bangladesh, killing over 50 people and displacing hundreds of thousands from their homes. This false-color image acquired on July 16, 2002, by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Terra spacecraft shows some of the worst flooding. The dark brown swollen river at the top of the image is the Brahmaputra River, which flows through the middle of the Indian state of Assam. The large black patches directly below the river are floods in Bangladesh.
Usually floods of this magnitude occur in southern Bangladesh and are caused by storms washing seawater over coastal regions. This year, however, unrelenting torrential rains across the entire eastern sub-continent gave rise to the deluge. The massive amounts of rainwater that fell on Nepal and Assam drained into an already waterlogged eastern Bangladesh. Normally, the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries would resemble a tangle of thin lines, and the large black patches in Bangladesh would be tan.
In this false-color image, land is tan, and clouds are pink and white. Water comes across as black or dark brown.