Monday, April 15, 2024
HomebrazilRivers in the Amazon fall to record low levels as drought worsens

Rivers in the Amazon fall to record low levels as drought worsens

The Negro River, the Amazon’s second largest tributary, on Monday reached its lowest level since official measurements began near Manaus 121 years ago. The record confirms that this part of the world´s largest rainforest is suffering its worst drought, just a little over two years after its most significant flooding.

In the morning, the water level in the city´s port went as low as 44.3 feet, down from 98.5 feet registered in June 2021 — its highest level on record. The Negro River drains about 10% of the Amazon basin and is the world’s sixth largest by water volume.

Madeira River, another main tributary of the Amazon, has also recorded historically low levels, causing the halt of the Santo Antonio hydroelectric dam, Brazil´s fourth largest.

 

He said surface water in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean is now warmer than during the “Godzilla” El Niño of 2015-2016 and is expanding. In the Amazon, these Pacific warmings primarily lead to droughts in the northern part of the region.

Moreover, a warm water patch in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean is causing drought in the southern part of the Amazon, similar to what happened in 2005 and 2010, according to researchers.

“The forecast is for the start of the rains to be delayed compared to normal, and for a drier-than-normal rainy season,” Fearnside said. “This could result not only in extreme low water this year, but also low levels in 2024. Until the rainy season begins in the basin, the situation that is already underway should worsen.”

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