A satellite view of land-atmosphere-ocean interactions in the Amazon Basin

Jack Reeves-Eyre and Xubin Zeng

Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
The University of Arizona

The Amazon river system has by far the largest runoff of any river on Earth. Annual mean rainfall of over 2000 mm/yr (Tucson receives ~300 mm/yr) is fed by atmospheric convergence of moisture from the tropical Atlantic, as well as recycling of evapotranspiration. A significant fraction of this precipitation runs off into river channels and is routed to the ocean. Amazon discharge into the Atlantic Ocean affects ocean salinity over a significant area, with consequent effects on sea surface temperature and ocean-atmosphere interactions.

Past studies have suggested that, perhaps surprisingly, interannual Amazon discharge variability has relatively little effect on interannual ocean salinity variability. However, these studies have typically used only a subset of available salinity information and have relied on inland river gauges. Here, we use a range of satellite, reanalysis and in-situ data to create a holistic picture of the Amazon water cycle and better understand the discharge-salinity relationship.

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