Global Surface Water 


Global Surface Water 


Water Occurrence

Water Occurrence Change Intensity

Water Transitions


Represented classes

Water Occurrence: Sometimes water – Always water

Water Occurrence Change Intensity: Decrease - Increase

Water Transitions: Permanent – New permanent – Lost permanent – Seasonal – New seasonal – Lost seasonal – Seasonal to permanent – Permanent to seasonal – Ephemeral permanent – Ephemeral seasonal 


Surface water between 1984 and 2015 and overall water dynamics. This product captures both the intra and inter-annual variability and changes.

Increase, decrease or remain of surface water between 1984-1999 and 2000-2015. Both the direction of change and its intensity are documented.

Change in seasonality between the first and last years and changes between the three classes of not water, seasonal water and permanent water.

European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Source data

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Global Surface Water Mapping Layers 


The Global Surface Water dataset (Water Occurrence, Water Occurrence Change Intensity and Water Transitions) shows different facets of surface water dynamics.

The maps display water surfaces that are visible from space, including natural (rivers, lakes, coastal margins and wetlands) and artificial water bodies (reservoirs formed by dams, flooded areas such as opencast mines and quarries, flood irrigation areas such as paddy fields, and water bodies created by hydro-engineering projects such as waterway and harbour construction). 

These data were generated using 4,185,439 scenes from Landsat 5, 7, and 8 acquired between 16 March 1984 and 31 December 2019

Each pixel was individually classified into water / non-water using an expert system and the results were collated into a monthly history for the entire time period and two epochs (1984-1999, 2000-2019) for change detection.

Spatial resolution 

Open water is any stretch of water open to the sky and includes both freshwater and saltwater areas greater than 30 m2. 

Temporal resolution 

Between March 1984 and 31 December 2019