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Zulkafli Z.,Imperial College London | Zulkafli Z.,University Putra Malaysia | Buytaert W.,Imperial College London | Manz B.,Imperial College London | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Research Letters

The impact of a changing climate on the Amazon basin is a subject of intensive research because of its rich biodiversity and the significant role of rainforests in carbon cycling. Climate change has also a direct hydrological impact, and increasing efforts have focused on understanding the hydrological dynamics at continental and subregional scales, such as the Western Amazon. New projections from the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 5 ensemble indicate consistent climatic warming and increasing seasonality of precipitation in the Peruvian Amazon basin. Here we use a distributed land surface model to quantify the potential impact of this change in the climate on the hydrological regime of the upper Amazon river. Using extreme value analysis, historical and future projections of the annual minimum, mean, and maximum river flows are produced for a range of return periods between 1 and 100 yr. We show that the RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios of climate change project an increased severity of the wet season flood pulse (7.5% and 12% increases respectively for the 100 yr return floods). These findings agree with previously projected increases in high extremes under the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios climate projections, and are important to highlight due to the potential consequences on reproductive processes of in-stream species, swamp forest ecology, and socio-economy in the floodplain, amidst a growing literature that more strongly emphasises future droughts and their impact on the viability of the rainforest system over greater Amazonia. © 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd. Source

Ovando A.,National Institute for Space Research | Tomasella J.,National Institute for Space Research | Rodriguez D.A.,National Institute for Space Research | Martinez J.M.,Institute Of Recherche Pour Le Developpement Ird | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies

Study region: The Amazonian wetlands of Bolivia, known as the Llanos de Moxos, are believed to play a crucial role in regulating the upper Madeira hydrological cycle, the most important southern tributary of the Amazon River. Because the area is vast and sparsely populated, the hydrological functioning of the wetlands is poorly known. Study focus: We analyzed the hydrometeorological configurations that led to the major floods of 2007, 2008 and 2014. These data, together with flood mapping derived from remote sensing images, were used to understand the dynamics of the Llanos during the three flood events. New hydrological insights for the region: The results showed that large floods are the result of the superimposition of flood waves from major sub-basins of the region. As a previous study suggested, the dynamics of the floods are controlled by an exogenous process, created by the flood wave originating in the Andes piedmont that travels through the Mamoré River; and by an endogenous process, which is the runoff originating in the Llanos. Our study showed that the first process is evident only at the initial phase of the floods, and although important for attenuating the rising flood wave, it is of lesser importance compared to the endogenous process. We conclude that the endogenous process controls the magnitude and duration of major floods. © 2015 The Authors.Published by Elsevier B.V. Source

Manz B.,Imperial College London | Buytaert W.,Imperial College London | Zulkafli Z.,Imperial College London | Zulkafli Z.,University Putra Malaysia | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Satellite precipitation products are becoming increasingly useful to complement rain gauge networks in regions where these are too sparse to capture spatial precipitation patterns, such as in the Tropical Andes. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (TPR) was active for 17 years (1998-2014) and has generated one of the longest single-sensor, high-resolution, and high-accuracy rainfall records. In this study, high-resolution (5 km) gridded mean monthly climatological precipitation is derived from the raw orbital TPR data (TRMM 2A25) and merged with 723 rain gauges using multiple satellite-gauge (S-G) merging approaches. The resulting precipitation products are evaluated by cross validation and catchment water balances (runoff ratios) for 50 catchments across the Tropical Andes. Results show that the TPR captures major synoptic and seasonal precipitation patterns and also accurately defines orographic gradients but underestimates absolute monthly rainfall rates. The S-G merged products presented in this study constitute an improved source of climatological rainfall data, outperforming the gridded TPR product as well as a rain gauge-only product based on ordinary Kriging. Among the S-G merging methods, performance of inverse distance interpolation of satellite-gauge residuals was similar to that of geostatistical methods, which were more sensitive to gauge network density. High uncertainty and low performance of the merged precipitation products predominantly affected regions with low and intermittent precipitation regimes (e.g., Peruvian Pacific coast) and is likely linked to the low TPR sampling frequency. All S-G merged products presented in this study are available in the public domain ©2016. The Authors. Source

Zulkafli Z.,Imperial College London | Buytaert W.,Imperial College London | Onof C.,Imperial College London | Lavado W.,Servicio Nacional de Meteorologia e Hidrologia SENAMHI | Guyot J.L.,Ird Institute Of Recherche Pour Le Developpement
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences

Global land surface models (LSMs) such as the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) are originally developed to provide surface boundary conditions for climate models. They are increasingly used for hydrological simulation, for instance to simulate the impacts of land use changes and other perturbations on the water cycle. This study investigates how well such models represent the major hydrological fluxes at the relevant spatial and temporal scales-an important question for reliable model applications in poorly understood, data-scarce environments. The JULES-LSM is implemented in a 360 000 km2 humid tropical mountain basin of the Peruvian Andes-Amazon at 12-km grid resolution, forced with daily satellite and climate reanalysis data. The simulations are evaluated using conventional discharge-based evaluation methods, and by further comparing the magnitude and internal variability of the basin surface fluxes such as evapotranspiration, throughfall, and surface and subsurface runoff of the model with those observed in similar environments elsewhere. We find reasonably positive model efficiencies and high correlations between the simulated and observed streamflows, but high root-mean-square errors affecting the performance in smaller, upper sub-basins. We attribute this to errors in the water balance and JULES-LSM's inability to model baseflow. We also found a tendency to under-represent the high evapotranspiration rates of the region. We conclude that strategies to improve the representation of tropical systems to be (1) addressing errors in the forcing and (2) incorporating local wetland and regional floodplain in the subsurface representation. © 2013 Author(s). Source

Espinoza J.C.,Instituto Geofisico del Peru IGP | Ronchail J.,University Paris Diderot | Lengaigne M.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Quispe N.,Servicio Nacional de Meteorologia e Hidrologia SENAMHI | And 4 more authors.
Climate Dynamics

This study investigates the spatial and temporal characteristics of cold surges that propagates northward along the eastern flank of the Andes from subtropical to tropical South America analysing wintertime in situ daily minimum temperature observations from Argentina, Bolivia and Peru and ERA-40 reanalysis over the 1975-2001 period. Cold surges usually last 2 or 3 days but are generally less persistent in the southern La Plata basin compared to tropical regions. On average, three to four cold surges are reported each year. Our analysis reveals that 52 % of cold episodes registered in the south of La Plata basin propagate northward to the northern Peruvian Amazon at a speed of around 20 m s-1. In comparison to cold surges that do not reach the tropical region, we demonstrate that these cold surges are characterized, before they reach the tropical region, by a higher occurrence of a specific circulation pattern associated to southern low-level winds progression toward low latitudes combined with subsidence and dry condition in the middle and low troposphere that reinforce the cold episode through a radiative effect. Finally, the relationship between cold surges and atmosphere dynamics is illustrated for the two most severe cold intrusions that reached the Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon in the last 20 years. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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