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Tracking the aftermath

During the especially busy hurricane season this past fall, maps from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory (DFO) provided an overview of the impact and enormity of the flooding from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The maps preserved a day-to-day record of the floods to be analyzed in the coming months and they will be archived to support research into global flooding trends and climate change.

A Dartmouth Flood Observatory map
A Dartmouth Flood Observatory map of the flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. (image courtesy of the DFO)

Keeping track of global flooding events is the daily business of the DFO's researchers. According to G. Robert Brakenridge, DFO Director and Research Associate Professor of Geography and of  Earth Sciences, flooding is a common occurrence in many parts of the world.

"It's rare for a major U.S. city to suddenly be submerged under water," he said referring to New Orleans, "but there are parts of the world that flood all the time."

After Hurricane Katrina, the DFO was the first to publish on the Internet, on Aug. 31, regional detailed maps of flood inundation.

To view the DFO's work, visit


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Last Updated: 5/30/08