Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Assessing Recovery from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami: An Application of Night-time Light Data and Vegetation Index

  • Magnus Andersson
  • Ola Hall
  • Maria Archila
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 436-450
Publication/Series: Geographical Research
Volume: 53
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

It has been 10 years since the Indian Ocean Tsunami caused serious damage to the coastal areas in South and Southeast Asia. The effects on vegetation and human settlements in the affected areas were enormous. This study presents the results of an analysis estimating the long-term recovery using two longitudinal remotely sensed dataset: 1. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer enhanced vegetation index (MODIS EVI), a dataset accounting for change in the landscape and vegetation; and 2. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-Optical Line Scanner (DMSP-OLS) night-time light data in order to estimate the effects on human and economic activities. It is evident from the results of this study that the night-time light and vegetation index datasets can both be beneficial in identifying changes caused by natural disasters and can be used to track recovery. The results using night-time light indicates a large loss of lighted area but also a rapid recovery of night-time light after the tsunami. Already in year 2005-2006, the levels of lighted area and sum of the lighting (SOL) intensity reached the same levels as pre-tsunami. For MODIS vegetation index, a drop can be observed in 2005/2006 on locations close to the coastline using 1 year temporal resolution; however, when utilizing the 16 day temporal resolution, the impact of the tsunami is illustrated as a dramatic drop, mostly in pixels located within 3km from the coast. Following the drop in vegetation index due to the tsunami, it was observed that most pixels exhibited at least some level of recovery in 2 years after the event.


  • Human Geography
  • Thailand
  • Andaman Tsunami
  • night-time light
  • NDVI


  • ISSN: 1745-5863
E-mail: maria_francisca [dot] archila_bustos [at] keg [dot] lu [dot] se


Department of Human Geography


Doctoral student

Centre for Economic Demography


The Department of Human Geography
and the Human Ecology Division

Address: Sölvegatan 10,
223 62 Lund
Phone: 046-222 17 59

Faculty of Social Sciences