Precipitation recycling in the Amazon basin

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Abstract

Precipitation recycling is the contribution of evaporation within a region to precipitation in that same region. The recycling rate is a diagnostic measure of the potential for interactions between land surface hydrology and regional climate. In this paper we present a model for describing the seasonal and spatial variability of the recycling process. The precipitation recycling ratio, ρ, is the basic variable in describing the recycling process, ρ is the fraction of precipitation at a certain location and time which is contributed by evaporation within the region under study. The recycling model is applied in studying the hydrologic cycle in the Amazon basin. It is estimated that about 25% of all the rain that falls in the Amazon basin is contributed by evaporation within the basin. This estimate is based on analysis of a data set supplied by the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts. The same analysis is repeated using a different data set from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. Based on this data set, the recycling ratio is estimated to be 35%. The seasonal variability of the recycling ratio is small compared with the yearly average. The new estimates of the recycling ratio are compared with results of previous studies, and the differences are explained.

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