Friday, December 24, 2010

Panama Canal Flooding Satellite Image

Panama Canal Flooding Satellite Image what is seen in this NASA image is the Lago Alajuelaa (Lake Madden; formed by the Madden Dam) a reservoir along the upper Chagres River, that feeds the Lake Gatun and the Panama Canal.

That image was taken on Dec 17 2010, and still today on Dec 24 the lakes water remains with extremely heavy sediments causing problems to Panamas water supply as the water treatment plants are struggling to cope with this problem. Also guess they need to take a close look at deforestation and its effects on the Panama Canal watershed.

NASA TEXT: In early December 2010, the Panama Canal closed for only the third time in its 96-year history. Two artificial lakes linked to the canal, Gatún and Alajuela, reached their highest-recorded water levels, prompting authorities to close the canal for 17 hours. The canal reopened on December 9.

Lago Alajuela serves as a reservoir for the Panama Canal, which lies to the lake’s southwest. On December 17, 2010, several days after the canal’s temporary closure, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image of Lago Alajuela. This image has been rotated so north is to the right. The canal lies off the top left corner of the image.

Torrential rains can erode soils, delivering heavy sediment loads to streams, rivers, and lakes. Ranging in color from dull green to tan, Lago Alajuela appears choked with sediment, contrasting sharply with the surrounding green forest.

Panama is accustomed to heavy precipitation. The rainy season lasts from May to January. The Panama Canal actually depends on huge quantities of water—each trip through the canal requires some 52 million gallons. Still, heavy rains in early December 2010 overwhelmed the region. The same rains that raised Lago Alajuela’s water level and filled it with sediment also forced thousands of residents to evacuate, washed out roads, and caused deadly landslides.

Lago Alajuelaa

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