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Inundation patterns in Amazon River floodplains are revealed by analysis of the 37 GHz polarization difference observed by the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer on the Nimbus-7 satellite. Flooded area is estimated at monthly intervals for January 1979 through August 1987 using mixing models that account for the major landscape units with distinctive microwave emission characteristics. Results are presented separately for 12 longitudinal reaches along the Amazon River main stem in Brazil as well as for three major tributaries (the Jurua, Purus and Madeira rivers). The total area along the Amazon River main stem that was flooded (including both floodplain and open water) varied between 19000 and 91000 km(2). The: correlation between flooded area and river stage is used to develop a predictive relationship and reconstruct regional inundation patterns in the floodplain of the Amazon River main stem over the past 94 years of stage records (1903-1996). The mean flooded area along the Amazon River during this 94-year period was 46800 km(2), of which the open-water surfaces of river channels and floodplain lakes comprised about 20700 km(2)

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