Climate and Dynamics
Long-term simulations of discharge and floods in the Amazon Basin
Article first published online: 23 AUG 2002
Copyright 2002 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012)
Volume 107, Issue D20, pages LBA 11-1–LBA 11-17, 27 October 2002
How to Cite
Long-term simulations of discharge and floods in the Amazon Basin, J. Geophys. Res., 107(D20), doi:10.1029/2001JD000740, 2002., , , and ,
- Issue published online: 23 AUG 2002
- Article first published online: 23 AUG 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 DEC 2001
- Manuscript Revised: 21 AUG 2001
- Manuscript Received: 13 APR 2001
 A terrestrial ecosystem model (integrated biosphere simulator (IBIS)) and a hydrological routing algorithm (HYDRA) are used in conjunction with long time series climate data to simulate the river discharge and flooded area of the Amazon/Tocantins River basin over the last 60 years. Evaluating the results of this modeling exercise over the entire basin yields three major results: (1) Observations at 121 stations throughout the basin show that discharge is well simulated for most tributaries originating in Brazil. However, the discharge is consistently underestimated, by greater than 20%, for tributaries draining regions outside of Brazil and the main stem of the Amazon. The discharge underestimation is most likely a result of underestimated precipitation in the data set used as model input. (2) A new flooding algorithm within HYDRA captures the magnitude and timing of the river height and flooded area in relatively good agreement with observations, particularly downstream of the confluence of the Negro and Solimões Rivers. (3) Climatic variability strongly impacts the hydrology of the basin. Specifically, we find that short (∼3–4 years) and long (∼28 years) modes of precipitation variability drive spatial and temporal variability in river discharge and flooded area throughout the Amazon/Tocantins River basins.