Do the recent severe droughts in the Amazonia have the same period of length?

Yong Zou, Elbert E. N. Macau, Gilvan Sampaio, Antônio M T Mário, Jürgen Kurths

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22 Citations (Scopus)
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We propose a new measure based on drought period length to assess the temporal difference between the recent two severe droughts of 2005 and 2010 in the Amazonia. The sensitivity of the measure is demonstrated by disclosing the distinct spatial responding mechanisms of the Northeastern and Southwestern Amazon (NA, SA) to the surrounding sea surface temperature (SST) variabilities. The Pacific and Atlantic oceans have different roles on the precipitation patterns in Amazonia. More specifically, the very dry periods in the NA are influenced by El Ni\~no events, while the very dry periods in the SA are affected by the anomalously warming of the SST in the North Atlantic. We show convincingly that the drought 2005 hit SA, which is caused by the North Atlantic only. There are two phases in the drought 2010: (i) it was started in the NA in August 2009 affected by the El Ni\~no event, and (ii) later shifted the center of action to SA resulted from anomalously high SST in North Atlantic, which further intensifies the impacts on the spatial coverage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3279-3285
Number of pages7
JournalClimate dynamics
Issue number9
Early online date31 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Amazonia droughts
  • drought period length
  • SST
  • Tropical Atlantic


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