Water Observations from Space

Due to the complexity of this image no alternative description has been provided. Please email Geoscience Australia at clientservices@ga.gov.au for an alternate description.

The image shows the percentage of time since 1987 that water was observed by the Landsat satellites on the floodplain around Burketown and Normanton in northern Queensland. The water frequency is shown in a colour scale from red to blue, with areas of persistent water observations shown in blue colouring, and areas of very infrequent water observation shown in red colouring. The image is part of the Water Observations from Space product, available for all of Australia.

Water Observations from Space (WOfS) is the world's first continent-scale map of surface water1 and provides images and data showing where water has been seen in Australia from 1987 to the present.

This map can be used to better understand where water usually occurs across the continent and to plan water management strategies. WOfS is widely used in Australia for flood modelling and assessment of environmental water flows, and has been used overseas in Columbia, Kenya, Switzerland, and Cameroon to monitor water availability and desertification rates. WOfS can also be used to assist in making decisions regarding the sustainable use of water and historical risk modelling to plan for future floods, hazards and other natural disasters.

Further information

1 N. Mueller, A. Lewis, D. Roberts, S. Ring, R. Melrose, J. Sixsmith, L. Lymburner, A. McIntyre, P. Tan, S. Curnow, A. Ip, 2016. Water observations from space: Mapping surface water from 25 years of Landsat imagery across Australia. Remote Sensing of Environment 174, 341-352, ISSN 0034-4257.