Observing a severe flooding over southern part of India in monsoon season of 2019


Kerala is one of the most flood prone states of India due to its geographical location and topography. In recent decades, the frequency and intensity of flood has significantly increased in Kerala. Floods that occurred in the year 2007, 2009, 2014 and 2018 resulted in heavy damage in the form of lives and properties. This research focuses on exploring a recent flood event of Kerala in July–August 2019 using observations from space. Enhanced convective activities over Kerala were resulted due to movement of a low-pressure system westwards from Bay of Bengal towards coastal Arabian Sea under favourable conditions. Results report that excess cumulative rainfall resulting from multi-day extreme precipitation events due to enhanced convection during July and August resulted in catastrophic flood events over various parts of Kerala. Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Palakkad districts of north Kerala were affected more as compared to other region. Kannur district received a cumulative rainfall of about 1300 mm from multiple rainy spells during July and August of 2019. Peak rainfall was recorded on August 08, 2019. A peak hourly rainfall of about 60 mm/h was recorded at 1230 UTC on August 08 over Kannur district. These multiple heavy to very heavy rainfall episodes led to severe flooding over Kerala resulting in huge damage. Present research emphasizes on the importance of space-borne satellite remote sensing in monitoring of flood events in order to envisage preparedness and mitigation in flood scenarios.


  • Flood event over southern part of India has been explored from space observations

  • Kerala, a state in south India, suffered a severe flood due to multi-day heavy precipitation

  • Technique described in this manuscript can be used for disaster preparedness

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7


  1. Adler R F, Huffman G J and Keehn P R 1994 Global rain estimates from microwave adjusted geosynchronous IR data; Remote Sens. Rev. 11 125–135.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Aonashi K, Awaka J, Hirose M, Kozu T, Kubota T, Liu G, Shige S, Kida S, Seto S, Takahashi N and Takayabu Y N 2009 GSMaP passive microwave precipitation retrieval algorithm: Algorithm description and validation; J. Meteorol. Soc. Japan. Ser. II 87 119–136.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Arkin P A, and Meisner B N 1987 The relationship between large-scale convective rainfall and cold cloud over the Western Hemisphere during 1982–1984; Mon. Wea. Rev. 115 51–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Goswami B N, Venugopal V, Sengupta D, Madhusoodanan M S and Xavier P K 2006 Increasing trend of extreme rain events over India in a warming environment; Science 314(5804) 1442–1445.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Gohil B S, Gairola R M, Mathur A K, Varma A K, Mahesh C, Gangwar R K and Pal P K 2013 Algorithms for retrieving geophysical parameters from the MADRAS and SAPHIR sensors of the Megha-Tropiques satellite Indian scenario; Quart. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc. 139(673) 954–963.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Hsu K L, Gao X, Sorooshian S and Gupta H V 1997 Precipitation estimation from remotely sensed information using artificial neural networks; J. Appl. Meteorol. 36(9) 1176–1190.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Huffman G J, Bolvin D T, Nelkin E J, Wolff D B, Adler R F, Gu G, Hong Y, Bowman K P and Stocker E F 2007 The TRMM multisatellite precipitation analysis (TMPA) Quasi-global, multiyear, combined-sensor precipitation estimates at fine scales; J. Hydrometeorol. 8(1) 38–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. IMD 2019 End of monsoon season report, https://mausam.imd.gov.in/imd_latest/contents/season_report.php.

  9. Jobard I and Desbois M 1994 Satellite estimation of the tropical precipitation using the Meteosat and SSM/I data; Atmos. Res. 34 285–298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Joyce R J, Janowiak J E, Arkin P A and Xie P 2004 CMORPH A method that produces global precipitation estimates from passive microwave and infrared data at high spatial and temporal resolution; J. Hydrometeorol. 5(3) 487–503.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Liu S C, Fu C, Shiu C J, Chen J P and Wu F 2009 Temperature dependence of global precipitation extremes; Geophys. Res. Lett. 36(17).

  12. Mishra A and Liu S C 2014 Changes in precipitation pattern and risk of drought over India in the context of global warming; J. Geophys. Res.: Atmos. 119(13) 7833–7841.

  13. Mishra A, Gairola R M, Varma A K and Agarwal V K 2010 Remote sensing of precipitation over Indian land and oceanic regions by synergistic use of multisatellite sensors; J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 115(D8).

  14. Mishra A K, Gairola R M, Varma A K and Agarwal V K 2009 Study of Intense Heavy Rainfall Events over India Using KALPANA-IR and TRMM- Precipitation Radar Observations; Curr. Sci. 9(5) 689–695.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Mishra A K 2012 A new technique to estimate precipitation at fine scale using multifrequency satellite observations over Indian land and oceanic regions; IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens. 51(7) 4349–4358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Mishra A K 2015 A study on the occurrence of flood events over Jammu and Kashmir during September 2014 using satellite remote sensing; Nat. Hazards 78(2) 1463–1467.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Mishra A K 2016 Monitoring Tamil Nadu flood of 2015 using satellite remote sensing; Nat. Hazards 82(2) 1431–1434.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Mishra A K and Srinivasan J 2013 Did a cloud burst occur in Kedarnath during 16 and 17 June 2013?. Curr. Sci. 105(10) 1351–1352.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Mishra A K, Meer M S and Nagaraju V 2019 Satellite-based monitoring of recent heavy flooding over north-eastern states of India in July 2019; Nat. Hazards 97 1412–1417.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Mishra A K and Nagaraju V 2019 Space-based monitoring of severe flooding of a southern state in India during south-west monsoon season of 2018; Nat. Hazards 97 949–953.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Mishra A K and Rafiq M 2019 Rainfall estimation techniques over India and adjoining oceanic regions; Curr. Sci. 16(1) 56–68.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Mishra A and Rafiq M 2017 Towards combining GPM and MFG observations to monitor near real time heavy precipitation at fine scale over India and nearby oceanic regions; Dyn. Atmos. Oceans 80 62–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Mishra V and Shah H L 2018 Hydroclimatological perspective of the Kerala flood of 2018; J. Geol. Soc. India 92(5) 645–650.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Papalexiou S M and Montanari A 2019 Global and Regional Increase of Precipitation Extremes under Global Warming; Water Resour. Res. 55(6) 4901–4914, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018wr024067.

  25. Rajeevan M, Bhate J and Jaswal A K 2008 Analysis of variability and trends of extreme rainfall events over India using 104 years of gridded daily rainfall data; Geophys. Res. Lett. 35(18).

  26. Scofield R A and Kuligowski R J 2003 Status and outlook of operational satellite precipitation algorithms for extreme-precipitation events; Wea. Forecasting 18(6) 1037–1051.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Funding support from HRDG CSIR through Grant Number 24(0350)/17/EMR-II is thankfully acknowledged. Useful suggestions from two anonymous reviewers helped in improving the quality of the research.

Author information




Anoop Kumar Mishra has collected and analysed the data and had written the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anoop Kumar Mishra.

Additional information

Communicated by Kavirajan Rajendran

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mishra, A.K. Observing a severe flooding over southern part of India in monsoon season of 2019. J Earth Syst Sci 130, 2 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-020-01509-7

Download citation


  • Disaster
  • cloud burst
  • monsoon
  • flood