Posted by: Michael Ritter PhD | May 5, 2008

Tropical Cyclone Nargis devastates Myanmar (updated)

A devastating tropical cyclone swept across Myanmar (formerly Burma) killing as many as 22,000 people according to government sources. Tropical Cyclone Nargis slammed into the south-east Asian country on Saturday with wind speeds reaching 190km/h (120mph).

Myanmar shares borders with China on the north, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, and India on the northwest, with the Bay of Bengal to the southwest (Wikipedia). It has a tropical monsoon climate with rainy hot summers (“southwest monsoon”) and mild, less humid winters (“northeast monsoon”). Flooding and landslides are common during the rainy season. Deforestation has compounded these problems.

Myanmar flooding

The impact of Cyclone Nargis can be seen the photos above. This pair of images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) use a combination of visible and infrared light to make features discernable. Water is blue or nearly black, vegetation is bright green, bare ground is tan, and clouds are white or light blue. Rivers, fallow farm fields and the brilliantly green vegetation is well-defined in the April 15 picture (top). Flooding of the coastal plain shown in the May 5 image (bottom) appears to have hit the fallow agriculture lands close to the Gulf of Martaban especially hard. For more see: Cyclone Nargis Floods Myanmar (Burma)

TPE Links: Hurricanes; Tropical Monsoon climate

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