A new study reveals the Amazon is losing surface water

phys.org | 3/22/2019 | Staff
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A new study shows that large amounts of surface freshwater are being lost every year in the Amazon. The changes are being caused by human intervention, including hydropower dams and deforestation, and climate change.

A major new study of the Amazon has revealed an alarming trend, with the region losing as much as 350 km2 of surface freshwater every year on average. The loss is related to the construction of hydropower dams, deforestation and climate change.

WWF-Brazil - Man - Environment - Institute - Amazonia

Carried out by WWF-Brazil and the Man and Environment Institute of Amazonia (Imazon) – as part of the MapBiomas Project and with the support of Google Earth Engine – this was the first time that a study of this magnitude has been carried out across the Amazon biome.

Relying on images from Landsat satellites collected over 33 years (from 1985 to 2017), new data processing technology and dedicated research, the study provides new insights and observations relating to changes in the Amazon's water bodies.

Results - Analysis - Annual - Surface - Water

The results of this analysis, titled "Long-Term Annual Surface Water Change in the Brazilian Amazon Biome: Potential Links with Deforestation, Infrastructure Development and Climate Change," were published this week in a special edition of the scientific publication Water.

Bernardo Caldas, conservation analyst for WWF-Brazil's Science Program and an author of the report, explains that there is a direct correlation between the loss of water surface in the Amazon and human interventions, including the construction of hydropower and deforestation.

Hydropower - Plants - Infrastructure - Weirs - Dams

Small hydropower plants, major infrastructure works, weirs, dams and fish farms all have an impact on the natural dynamics and ecological services of the river basin.

These human interventions are most prominent in the zone known as the "deforestation arch" in the southern Amazon and the areas most affected by this loss in surface freshwater are the floodplains and lagoons that form from the ebb and flow of the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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