Space Technology and its Application in Disaster Management: Case Studies on Ecological Disturbance and Landmass Changes in Sundarbans

  • Dibyendu DuttaEmail author
  • Tanumi Kumar
  • Libeesh Lukose
  • Sourav Samanta
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 30)


Sundarbans, the largest single patch of mangrove habitation of the world is prone to large number of natural disasters. There is an urgent need to protect this precious resource to maintain the natural harmony between man and environment. To show the capability of remote sensing satellites, two case studies for Sundarbans have been presented. In the first study, assessment of ecological disturbance caused by some of the major cyclones of the last decade has been carried out in which Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-derived Land Surface Temperature and Enhanced Vegetation Index have been used to calculate MODIS Global Disturbance Index (MGDI). MGDI approach was used to assess the instantaneous ecological disturbance caused by cyclones, of different intensities, striking the mangroves at different phenological stages. The second study is about the landmass change and its periodicity during 1973 to 2017 using multispectral satellite data. Overall decrease in the landmass is in the order of 329.45 km2 during 1973 to 2017 @ 7.48 km2 year−1. However, the rate of erosion is highly variable over the years and varies between 1.62% (between 1973 and 1999) and as high as 4.50% (between 1973 and 2017). Based upon the net loss of landmass the islands are classified into 4 categories, viz. low (<10 ha year−1, including Kankramari, Sikarpur and Putni Island), medium (between 10 and 20 ha year−1, including Ghoramara, Jambudwip and Mahisani), high (between 20 and 30 ha year−1, including Sagar and Bulcherry), and very high (>30 ha year−1, including Dalhausi and Bangaduni).


Sundarbans Cyclone Flood Lightning Earthquake ICT Ecological disturbance Landmass change 


  1. Akter J, Sarker MH, Popescu I et al (2016) Evolution of the Bengal delta and its prevailing processes. J Coast Res 32(5):1212–1225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allison MA (1998) Historical changes in the Ganges–Brahmaputra delta front. J Coast Res 14(4):1269–1275Google Scholar
  3. Allison MA, Khan SR, Goodbred SL et al (2003) Stratigraphic evolution of the late Holocene Ganges-Brahmaputra lower delta plain. Sediment Geol 155(3–4):317–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alongi DM, Boto KG, Robertson AI (1992) In: Alongi DM, Robertson AI (eds) Tropical mangrove ecosystem. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, pp 251–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ameen M (1999) Development of guiding principles for the prevention of impacts of alien species. Paper presented at a consultative workshop in advance of the 4th meeting of SBSTTA to the CBD, IUCN, Bangladesh, Dhaka, 25 May 1999Google Scholar
  6. Biswas SR (2003) Invasive plants of Sundarbans. In: interim report under SBCP project, IUCN, Bangladesh, p 34Google Scholar
  7. Blaikie PT, Cannon I, Davis B et al (2004) At risk: natural hazards, people’s vulnerability and disasters, 2nd edn. Taylor and Francis publishers, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Blasco F (1975) The mangrove of India. Institut Francais de Pondichery, Pondichery, p 175Google Scholar
  9. Blasco F, Aizpuru M, Gers C (2001) Depletion of the mangroves of continental Asia. Wetl Ecol Manag 9:245–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cole CV, Vaidyaraman PP (1966) Salinity distribution and effect of freshwater flows in the Hooghly River. In: Proceedings of tenth conference on coastal engineering, held at Tokyo. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, pp 1312–1434Google Scholar
  11. Coleman JM (1969) Brahmaputra river: channel processes and sedimentation. Sediment Geol 3:129–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Deb SC (1956) Paleoclimatology and geophysics of the gangetic delta. Geogr Rev India 18:11–18Google Scholar
  13. Domenikiotis C, Loukas A, Dalezios NR (2003) The use of NOAA/AVHRR satellite data for monitoring and assessment of forest fires and floods. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci. Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union 3(1/2):115–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dutta D, Das PK, Paul S et al (2015) Assessment of ecological disturbance in the mangrove forest of Sundarbans caused by cyclones using MODIS time-series data (2001–2011). Nat Hazards 79:775–790. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dwivedi RS, Rao BRM, Bhattacharya S (1999) Mapping wetlands of the Sundarban delta and its environs using ERS-1 SAR data. Int J Remote Sens 20:2235–2247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ganguly D, Mukhopadhyay A, Pandey RK et al (2006) Geomorphological study of Sundarban deltaic estuary. J Indian Soc Remote Sens 34(4):431–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ghosh A, Schmidt S, Fickert et al (2015) The Indian Sundarban mangrove forests: history, utilization, conservation strategies and local perception. Diversity 7:149–169. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Giri C, Pengra B, Zhu Z et al (2007) Monitoring mangrove forest dynamics of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh and India using multi-temporal satellite data from 1973 to 2000. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 73:91–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Giri C, Long J, Abbas S et al (2014) Distribution and dynamics of mangrove forests of South Asia. J Environ Manag 100:1–11Google Scholar
  20. Government of Bangladesh, UNDP, World Bank (1993) Multipurpose cyclone shelter programme. Final report executive summary, Planning Commission, Govt of Bangladesh, UNDP/World Bank, July 1993. UNDP/World Bank/GOB project BGD/91Google Scholar
  21. Gray WM (1968) Global view of the origin of tropical disturbances and storms. Mon Weather Rev 96(10):660–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gupta N, Kleinhans MG, Addink EA et al (2014) One-dimensional modelling of a recent Ganga avulsion: assessing the potential effect of tectonic subsidence on a large river. Geomorphology 213:24–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Houghton J, Ding Y, Griggs D et al (eds) (2001) Climate change 2001: the scientific basis, published for the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. IPCC (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. In: Solomon SD, Qin M, Manning Z et al (eds) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge/New York, p 996Google Scholar
  25. Islam MJ, Alam MS, Elahi KM (1997) Remote sensing for change detection in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh. Geocarto Int 12:91–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. IUCN Bangladesh (2014) Bangladesh Sundarban Delta vision 2050: a first step in its formulation – Document 1. The Vision, Dhaka, Bangladesh IUCN, p vi+23Google Scholar
  27. Jobin DI, Pultz TJ (1996) Assessment of three distributed hydrological models for use with remotely sensed inputs. Third international workshop on applications of remote sensing in hydrology, held at Greenbelt, MD, 16–18 October, pp 100–130Google Scholar
  28. Junk WJ, da Cunha CN, Wantzen KM et al (2006) Biodiversity and its conservation in the pantanal of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Aquat Sci 68(3):278–309. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kathiresan K, Bingham BL (2001) Biology of mangroves and mangrove ecosystem. Adv Mar Biol 40:81–251. Google Scholar
  30. Kerr JT, Ostrovsky M (2003) From space to species: ecological applications of remote sensing. Trends Ecol Evol 18(6):299–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Koedsin W, Vaiphasa C (2013) Discrimination of tropical mangroves at the species level with EO-1 Hyperion data. Remote Sens 5(7):3562–3582. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kooi H, Johnston P, Lambeck K et al (1998) Geological causes of recent (~100 yr) vertical land movement in the Netherlands. Tectonophysics 299:297–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lambin EF, Ehrlich D (1995) Combining vegetation indices and surface temperature for land-cover mapping at broad spatial scales. Int J Remote Sens 16(3):573–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Leconte R, Pultz TJ (1990) Utilization of SAR data in the monitoring of snowpack, wetlands, and river ice conditions. Presented in workshop on applications of remote sensing in hydrology, held at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 13–14 February 1990, pp 233–247Google Scholar
  35. Mildrexler DJ, Zhao M, Running SW (2009) Testing a MODIS Global Disturbance Index across North America. Remote Sens Environ 113:2103–2117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mitra A, Banerjee K, Sengupta K et al (2009) Pulse of climate change in Indian Sundarbans: a myth or reality. Natl Acad Sci Lett 32:19–25Google Scholar
  37. Mitra A, Mondal K, Banerjee K (2011) Spatial and tidal variations of physico–chemical parameters in the lower Gangetic delta region, West Bengal, India. J Spat Hydrol, American Spatial Hydrology Union Spring 11(1):52–69Google Scholar
  38. Morgan JP, McIntire WG (1959) Quaternary geology of the Bengal Basin, East Pakistan and Burma. Bull Geol Soc Am 70:319–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Naskar KR, Guha Bakshi DN (1987) Mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans – an ecological perspective. Naya Prakash, Calcutta, p 263Google Scholar
  40. Nayak S, Sarangi RK, Rajawat AS (2001) Application of IRS P4 OCM data to study the impact of cyclone on coastal environment of Orissa. Curr Sci 80:1208–1213Google Scholar
  41. Nemani RR, Running SW (1989) Estimation of regional surface resistance to evapotranspiration from NDVI and Thermal-IR AVHRR data. J Appl Meteorol 28:276–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Raha A, Das S, Banerjee K et al (2012) Climate change impacts on Indian Sunderbans: a time series analysis (1924–2008). Biodivers Conserv 21(5):1289–1307. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rahman MM (2012) Time series analysis of coastal region in the Sundarbans mangrove. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences XXXIX-B8 2012 XXII ISPRS congress, Melbourne, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  44. Rahman MR, Asaduzzaman M (2010) Ecology of Sundarban, Bangladesh. J Sci Found 8(1&2):35–47Google Scholar
  45. Raith K, Uddenfeldt J (1991) Capacity of digital cellular TDMA systems. IEEE Trans Veh Technol 40(2):323–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rashid SH, Biswas SR, Bocker R et al (2009) Mangrove community recovery potential after catastrophic disturbances in Bangladesh. For Ecol Manag 257:923–930CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sanyal P, Banerjee LK, Choudhury MK (1984) Dancing mangals of India Sundarbans. J Indian Soc Coast Agric Res 2:10–16Google Scholar
  48. Sarwar M, Woodroffe CD (2013) Rates of shoreline change along the coast of Bangladesh. J Coast Conserv 17(3):515–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Scofield RA, Achutuni R (1996) The satellite forecasting funnel approach for predicting flash floods. Remote Sens Rev 14:251–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Scofield RA, Kusselson S, Olander D et al (1995) Combining GOES, microwave, and raw insonde moisture data for improving heavy precipitation estimates and forecasts. In: Proceedings of the 14th conference on weather analysis and forecasting, held at Dallas TX, 15–20 January 1995. AMS, Boston, MA, pp (J4) 1–(J4) 6Google Scholar
  51. Scofield RA, Zaras D, Kusselson S et al (1996) A remote sensing precipitable water product for use in heavy precipitation forecasting. In: Proceedings of the 8th conference on satellite meteorology and oceanography, held at Atlanta, GA, 29 January–2 February 1996. AMS, Boston, MA, pp 74–78Google Scholar
  52. Siddiqui MH (1988) Land accretion and erosion in the coastal area. Presented at the national workshop on Bangladesh coastal area resource development and management, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 3–4 October 1988Google Scholar
  53. Snedaker C (1991) Notes on the Sundarbans with emphasis on geology, hydrology and forestry. In: Seidensticker J, Kurin R, Townsend AK (eds) The commons in South Asia: societal pressures and environmental integrity in the Sundarbans. The International Center, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  54. SPARRSO REPORT (1987) Report on pilot project on remote sensing application to coastal zone dynamics in Bangladesh. Dhaka, BangladeshGoogle Scholar
  55. Syvitski JPM, Kettner AJ, Overeem I et al (2009) Sinking deltas due to human activities. Nat Geosci 2:681–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Umitsu M (1993) Late quaternary sedimentary environments and landforms in the Ganges delta. Sediment Geol 83:177–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. UNISDR (2006) Making the case for disaster risk reduction in Africa, December. United Nations international strategy for disaster reduction by Seth Doe Vordzorgbe, Nairobi, Africa, p 39Google Scholar
  58. van Asselen S, Stouthamer E, van Asch TWJ (2009) Effects of peat compaction on delta evolution: a review on processes, responses, measuring and modelling. Earth-Sci Rev 92:35–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vicente GA, Scofield RA, Menzel WP (1998) The operational GOES infrared rainfall estimation technique. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 79(9):1883–1898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Yi Y, Minnis P, Huang J (2008) Validation of multi-layered cloud properties using a train satellite measurement. Presented in symposium on IEEE International Geoscience & Remote Sensing, held at Boston, MA, US, 6–11 July 2008, pp 1–4Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dibyendu Dutta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tanumi Kumar
    • 2
  • Libeesh Lukose
    • 3
  • Sourav Samanta
    • 2
  1. 1.Earth and Climate Science Area, NRSCHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.RRSC-East (NRSC), New TownKolkataIndia
  3. 3.Department of Geology and GeophysicsIIT-KharagpurWest MidnapurIndia

Personalised recommendations