Escudo de la República de Colombia

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Equation to calculate Amazon evapotranspiration designed

This novel equation will help forecast possible floods or droughts in this strategic area; very useful in aspects like fluvial navigation and hydrological and ecosystemic integrity as well as agriculture.

Medellín, 21 de julio de 2016Agencia de Noticias UN-

The Amazonia is considered as a uniform tropical rainforest, but the reality is that it has a variety of ecosystems and climates.

Carmona split the 6 million square kilometers of the Amazon into 146 sub-basins.

One of the most relevant variables of the hydrological cycle is evapotranspiration.

The Amazon is thought as the “air conditioning” to regulate the temperature of the planet.

Rainfall in the Colombian Andes is influenced in part by Amazonian evaporation.

Among the variables of hydrological cycle evapotranspiration, it allows water to return to the atmosphere in form of water vapor; in the Amazon this surpasses the flow rate that the Amazon River pours into the Atlantic Ocean. 

As opposed to the remaining variables (rain, soil moisture and river flow) evapotranspiration cannot be calculated using a series of equations designed and tested in other ecosystems and weather environments which greatly differ from the Amazonian conditions. 

In developing her doctoral thesis project entitled, “Impacts of Climate Change and Climate Variability on the Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Amazonia”, Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Engineering-Hydraulic Resources doctoral candidate Alejandra Carmona devised an equation to better predict the changes in river flow levels. 

To carry out the research project Carmona split the 6 million square kilometers of the Amazon into 146 sub-basins; this demonstrated the differences in river flows, vegetation, climate and water availability of the soil. According to the variables, the Colombian Amazon has one of the greatest rainfall rates. 

Furthermore after using the equation for her thesis project, it may now be used for future research to delve deeper in understanding the spatio-temporal dynamics of evapotranspiration of the Amazon basin. 

“This is how appropriate science is performed for our reality and our ecosystems because we are accustomed to reading books that come from abroad with equations attuned to other ecosystems and designed for other environments,” said Professor Germán Poveda, member of the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia Scientific Directorship, the largest environmental scientific program in the world. 

We can have two scenarios with evapotranspiration. First, the atmosphere uses it to produce rain, which is known as recycled rain. And second is winds which move moisture towards the Andes Mountains where it produces rain that will feed the rivers of the great Amazon basin. This also carries nutrients and sediments that trees need for developing. Therefore rain in the Colombian Andes is influenced by evaporation in the Amazon and vice versa. 

“The reduction of rain and moisture in the soil has a bearing on the amount of water which runs-off rivers which could have an influence on less evapotranspiration. If this occurs there could be less water available in the atmosphere for rain,” said Carmona. 

Climatic differences 

This project also shows that the Amazon is not a uniform tropical rainforest as many think; it really has a variety of ecosystems as well as climates. 

For Jhan Carlo Espinoza, Geophysics Institute of Peru main researcher and judge for Carmon’s thesis project, “Lack of clarity on the differences on the hydrology of different amazon basins lies in that most studies have focused on the Brazilian Amazon and to understand the whole picture it is necessary to analyze what happens in the Andean-Amazon areas as well. 

Due to the size and localization of the equatorial amazon basin, this is one of the most critical areas regarding weather in the world. Furthermore it provides environmental services such as store carbon dioxide and act as “air conditioning” to regulate temperatures; therefore the importance of this research project and its future preservation. Avoiding its deforestation would contribute to climate regulation in the world. 

This doctoral thesis directed by Professor Poveda had the support of the Colombian Administrative Department for Science Technology and Innovation and was honored as outstanding by the University Board of Governors as unanimously recommended by an international panel of judges. 

For more information please visit the following link:  www.bdigital.unal.edu.co/51986/1/43977073.2016.pdf

(Por: Fin/SLGS/MLA/APBL
)
N.° 133

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