Causes and impacts of the 2005 Amazon drought

Zeng, Ning; Yoon, Jin-Ho; Marengo, Jose A.; Subramaniam, Ajit; Nobre, Carlos A.; Mariotti, Annarita; Neelin, J. David

A rare drought in the Amazon culminated in 2005, leading to near record-low streamflows, small Amazon river plume, and greatly enhanced fire frequency. This episode was caused by the combination of 2002–03 El Niño and a dry spell in 2005 attributable to a warm subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. Analysis for 1979–2005 reveals that the Atlantic influence is comparable to the better-known Pacific linkage. While the Pacific influence is typically locked to the wet season, the 2005 Atlantic impact concentrated in the Amazon dry season when its hydroecosystem is most vulnerable. Such mechanisms may have wide-ranging implications for the future of the Amazon rainforest.

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Environmental Research Letters

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Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
IOP Publishing
Published Here
April 13, 2016