Brazil: Satellite measures record rain floods

December 2013 was a record rainfall month for many states in Brazil. By December, 27 at least seven cities have set new records for the most rain received during a single month, according to the Brazil’s National Meteorology Institute (INMET). The city of Aimores, in the state of Minas Gerais, received more than 400 percent of the average December rainfall.

Satellite-based measurements of precipitation show the wider patter throughout the states. The image posted by NASA Earth Observatory compares the rainfall observed between 1998 and 2012. The blue areas show rainfall was much more intense in 2013 than average. The measurements were made by the Real-Time TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis, which is based on data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite.

The rainfall in December is extreme but the pattern is similar to other observations made by TRMM in Brazil during the Southern Hemisphere summer. The data collected by the satellite corresponds with ground-based measurements from the region.

The extreme rainfall caused flooding which took the lives of 45 people, some 70000 were evacuated. The infrastructure costs for collapsed roads in Espirito Santo are expected to reach about US$227 million.