China’s rainy season has led to serious flooding in the northeast and south of the country. A joint Chinese-European team is gathering Envisat radar imagery of the developing situation to give the authorities a way to swiftly assess affected areas and plan their responses. Summer flooding is nothing new in these regions of the People’s Republic of China, though this year it is proving particularly severe, with more than 800 casualties countrywide and 2.45 million people forced to evacuate their homes. However this season’s flooding is being monitored in near real-time by ESA’s Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) sensor, which can acquire imagery in both day and night and in all weathers.
This activity is taking place as part of ESA’s Dragon Programme of cooperation with the National Remote Sensing Centre of China (NRSCC) within the Ministry of Science and Technology of the PRC. These Envisat images are a means for the authorities to identify floodwater extent and coordinate mitigation efforts, and should be a foretaste of things to come – next season the aim is that a full near real-time monitoring service should be operational.