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Numerical analysis of the Hydrology of Amazonia 1939-1998

Michael T Coe, The Woods Hole Research Center, mtcoe@whrc.org (Presenting)
Marcos Heil Costa, The Federal University of Višosa, mhcosta@ufv.br
Erica A Howard, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin-Madison, eahoward@wisc.edu

In this paper we analyze the hydrology of the Amazon River system for the latter half of the 20th century with our recently completed model of terrestrial hydrology (Terrestrial Hydrology Model with Biogeochemistry, THMB). We evaluate the floodplain inundation of the Central Amazon basin against observations of river discharge, inundation, and water height and analyze the spatial and temporal variability of the hydrology for the period 1939-1998. We compare the simulated discharge and floodplain inundated area to the simulations by Coe et al., 2002 using a previous version of this model. The new model simulates the discharge and flooded area in much better agreement with the observations than the previous model. The coefficient of correlation between the simulated and observed discharge for the greater than 27000 monthly observations of discharge at 120 sites throughout the Brazilian Amazon is 0.9698 compared to 0.9361 for the previous model. The coefficient of correlation between the simulated monthly flooded area and the satellite-based estimates by Sippel et al., 1998 exceeds 0.7 for 8 of the 12 mainstem reaches. Comparison to the seasonal data on flooded area by Hess et al., 2004, indicates good agreement of the spatial distribution of wetlands in the Central Amazon basin but with weaker seasonal variability. Additionally, the seasonal and inter-annual variability of the water height compares favorably to the satellite altimetric measurements of height reported by Birkett et al., 2002.

Science Theme:  LC (Land Use and Land Cover Change)

Session:  1A: Land Surface, Climate, and Hydrology

Presentation Type:  Oral

Abstract ID: 27

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