Extreme Seasonal Climate Variations in the Amazon Basin: Droughts and Floods

  • José A. Marengo
  • Earle R. Williams
  • Lincloln M. Alves
  • Wagner R. Soares
  • Daniel A. Rodriguez
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 227)


The last 10 years have featured intense climate-hydrological extremes in the Amazon region: 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012–2013, and 2014–2015 leading to great impacts, such as large-scale droughts and floods, some of them being classified as ‘once-in-a-century’ events. Historical records show previous droughts in 1926, 1964, 1980, 1983, and 1998 and floods in 1953, 1988, and 1989. These events have been linked to natural climate variability and they impact on natural and human systems. Main cities in the Amazon region were flooded or were isolated by the extremely low river levels during the droughts. Model projections suggest that such extremes could be more frequent/intense in the future and that human activities, mainly in the form of land use change leading to increases in greenhouse gas concentration, may aggravate such extremes and make the impacts on the populations stronger. In this chapter, we review climate-hydrological extremes in a historical context, assessing observed trends, projected climate change scenarios, and the likelihood and uncertainties inherent to those scenarios.


Return Period Amazon Basin Rainfall Anomaly Amazon Region Natural Climate Variability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The research leading to these results has received funding from the Rede-CLIMA, the National Institute of Science and Technology for Climate Change funded by CNPq Grant Number 573797/2008-0 and FAPESP Grants 2008/57719-9, FAPESP-NERC 2011/51843-2, and FAPESP-GO AMAZON 2013/50538-7. ERW’s contribution to this study was supported by the NASA TRMM program, under the direction of Dr. Ramesh Kakar.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • José A. Marengo
    • 1
  • Earle R. Williams
    • 2
  • Lincloln M. Alves
    • 3
  • Wagner R. Soares
    • 1
  • Daniel A. Rodriguez
    • 3
  1. 1.National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters (CEMADEN)Cachoeira PaulistaBrazil
  2. 2.Parsons Laboratory, Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringMITCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Earth System Science CenterNational Institute for Space Research (CCST INPE)Cachoeira PaulistaBrazil

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