Rio Negro is shrinking as drought strikes the Brazilian Amazon •

Rio Negro is shrinking as drought strikes the Brazilian Amazon

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Rio Negro in the Brazilian province of Amazonas near the city of Manaus.

Rio Negro is one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River and the largest blackwater river in the world.

When this photograph was captured on October 3, 2023, the river had dropped to 50.52 feet, according to data collected by the Port of Manaus. 

“July through October fall within the dry season in the western and northern Amazon rainforest, but a particularly acute lack of rain during this period in 2023 has pushed the region into a severe drought,” said NASA.

“Some areas in the Amazon River’s watershed have received less rain between July and September than any year since 1980, Reuters reported. The drought has been particularly severe in the Rio Negro watershed in northern Amazonas, as well as parts of southern Venezuela and southern Colombia.”

René Garreaud, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Chile, said that this is a pretty unusual and extreme situation. “The primary culprit exacerbating the drought appears to be El Niño.” 

According to the Associated Press,  diminishing river levels in the Brazilian Amazon have left hundreds of communities isolated and struggling to get access to drinkable water. 

The image was captured by the OLI (Operational Land Imager) instrument on Landsat 8.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Wanmei Liang/ Landsat/ U.S. Geological Survey

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