Monitoring Natural Disasters by Remote Sensing

While aerial remotely sensed data were used for a long time, it is the satellite based remote sensing data which, because of its continuous availability and capacity to observe large areas, is considered a powerful medium to monitor the changes in the Earth's environment and take timely action. Remote sensing satellite information helps minimise damages e.g. the death of cattle, humans etc. and the damage of agricultural production in time of natural calamities by early warning system.

Floods occur mainly due to heavy rainfall in association with low pressure, depressions and cyclones. While floods and cyclones cannot be totally eliminated, careful monitoring and planning can certainly mitigate the destruction and help in evolving suitable rehabilitation measures based on remotely sensed data.

Attempts are being made to evolve a drought prediction system using remotely sensed data, but drought prediction is difficult, and a foolproof mechanism will probably take time. However, the severity of droughts can easily be assessed, thus providing information to the authorities for implementing relief measures.

Forest fires are considered a potential hazard with physical, biological, ecological and environmental consequences. Forest fires occur frequently in tropical countries particularly in the dry and hot seasons causing serious damage to the forest resources and agricultural production. Since the number of forest fires are increasing every year, continuous monitoring is of great importance, not only to understand present trends but also to devise a model to predict the possibility of fires in future. In a recent fire in the Rajiv Gandhi National Park situated in South Karnataka (India), remote sensing data was used for studying environmental aspects and the results were very encouraging.

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