Global maps derived from all Landsat 5, 7, and 8 scenes 1999-2021 highlight the changes in surface water extent during this period, and a probability sample-based assessment provides unbiased estimators of the area of permanent water, seasonal water, water loss, water gain, temporary land, temporary water, and high-frequency change 1999-2018.

Highlights include:

  • First sample-based global estimates of open surface water extent and change.
  • 40% of the area with surface water detected between 1999 and 2018 was not permanent.
  • Area of multiple water/land transitions far exceeds (>4x) area of unidirectional loss or gain of water.
  • Maps highlight 7 types of 1999–2020 global surface water stable and change dynamics.
  • 10.9% of global inland surface water is within mixed pixels at Landsat resolution.

Pickens, A.H., Hansen, M.C., Hancher, M., Stehman, S.V., Tyukavina, A., Potapov, P., Marroquin, B., Sherani, Z., 2020. Mapping and sampling to characterize global inland water dynamics from 1999 to 2018 with full Landsat time-series. Remote Sensing of Environment 243, 111792.

Data Links:

View Maps Online

Download Maps

Download Individual Month Maps

Maps are in 10x10° tiles and the following layers are available for download:

  • R-G-B interannual dynamics maps
  • interannual stable and change classes
  • monthly mean water percent 
  • annual water percent
  • individual month water percent

Maps have a no-data value of 255. The legend for the stable and change classes is:

Reference data:

Time-series reference data [Download shapefile of locations here]

Download monthly water reference data from RapidEye

Browse monthly water reference data from RapidEye