The Amazon Water Cycle Has Become More Extreme

The Amazon River’s hydrological cycle has become more extreme over the past two decades with increasing seasonal precipitation across much of the basin despite drier conditions in the southern parts of Earth’s largest rainforest, finds a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, reports Rhett Butler at Mongabay. The research analyzed monthly Amazon River discharge at a point that drains 77 percent of the Amazon Basin, and compared it with regional precipitation patterns. Suspecting that temperatures in the tropical Atlantic might be influencing rainfall — as has been suggested in other studies — the authors also assessed sea surface temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The researchers found a significant intensification in the Amazon’s hydrological cycle, with increased discharge during the rainy season punctuated by occasional episodes of severe drought. “The catchment of the world’s largest river is experiencing a substantial wetting trend since approximately 1990,” the authors write. “This intensification of the hydrological cycle is concentrated overwhelmingly in the wet season driving progressively greater differences in Amazon peak and minimum flows.”

 

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Source

Amazon’s flood/drought cycle becoming more extreme, less predictable
(05/14/2013) The Amazon River’s hydrological cycle has become more extreme over the past two decades with increasing seasonal precipitation across much of the basin despite drier conditions in the southern parts of Earth’s largest rainforest, finds a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. The research analyzed monthly Amazon River discharge at Óbidos, a point that drains 77 percent of the Amazon Basin, and compared it with regional precipitation patterns.

 

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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