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The Biogeochemistry of the Amazon Basin$
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Michael E. McClain, Reynaldo Victoria, and Jeffrey E. Richey

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195114317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195114317.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

General Characteristics and Variability of Climate in the Amazon Basin and its Links to the Global Climate System

General Characteristics and Variability of Climate in the Amazon Basin and its Links to the Global Climate System

(p.17) 2 General Characteristics and Variability of Climate in the Amazon Basin and its Links to the Global Climate System
The Biogeochemistry of the Amazon Basin

Jose A. Marengo

Carlos A. Nobre

Oxford University Press

The Amazon region is of particular interest because it represents a large source of heat in the tropics and has been shown to have a significant impact on extratropical circulation, and it is Earth’s largest and most intense land-based convective center. During the Southern Hemisphere summer when convection is best developed, the Amazon basin is one of the wettest regions on Earth. Amazonia is of course not isolated from the rest of the world, and a global perspective is needed to understand the nature and causes of climatological anomalies in Amazonia and how they feed back to influence the global climate system. The Amazon River system is the single, largest source of freshwater on Earth. The flow regime of this river system is relatively unimpacted by humans (Vörösmarty et al. 1997 a, b) and is subject to interannual variability in tropical precipitation that ultimately is translated into large variations in downstream hydrographs (Marengo et al. 1998a, Vörösmarty et al. 1996, Richey et al. 1989a, b). The recycling of local evaporation and precipitation by the forest accounts for a sizable portion of the regional water budget (Nobre et al. 1991, Eltahir 1996), and as large areas of the basin are subject to active deforestation there is grave concern about how such land surface disruptions may affect the water cycle in the tropics (see reviews in Lean et al. 1996). Previous studies have emphasized either how large-scale atmospheric circulation or land surface conditions can directly control the seasonal changes in rainfall producing mechanisms. Studies invoking controls of convection and rainfall by large-scale circulation emphasize the relationship between the establishment of upper-tropospheric circulation over Bolivia and moisture transport from the Atlantic ocean for initiation of the wet season and its intensity (see reviews in Marengo et al. 1999). On the other hand, Eltahir and Pal (1996) have shown that Amazon convection is closely related to land surface humidity and temperature, while Fu et al. (1999) indicate that the wet season in the Amazon basin is controlled by both changes in land surface temperature and the sea surface temperature (SST) in the adjacent oceans, depending if the region is north-equatorial or southern Amazonia.

Keywords:   air temperature, cloud cover, fire, human activity, moisture convection, plantation management, river discharge, thermodynamics, veranico

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