Evapotranspiration in the Amazon: spatial patterns, seasonality andrecent trends in observations, reanalysis and CMIP models


Primeiro Autor: 
Jessica C. A. Baker
Ano de Publicação: 
Nome da Revista/Jornal: 
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
Tipo de publicação: 
Artigo publicado em Revista
Publicação Internacional
TítuloEvapotranspiration in the Amazon: spatial patterns, seasonality andrecent trends in observations, reanalysis and CMIP models
Tipo da publicaçãoMiscellaneous
Ano de Publicação2020
AutoresBaker JCA, Garcia-Carreras L, Gloor M, Marsham JH, Buermann W, da Rocha HR, Nobre AD, de Araujo AC, Spracklen DV

Water recycled through transpiring forests influences the spatial distribution of precipitation in the Amazon and has been shown to play a role in the initiation of the wet season. However, due to the challenges and costs associated with measuring evapotranspiration (ET) directly, plus the high uncertainty and discrepancies across remote-sensing retrievals of ET, spatial and temporal patterns in this key component of the Amazon hydrological cycle remain poorly understood. In this study, we estimated ET over the Amazon and ten sub-basins using a catchment-balance approach, whereby ET is calculated directly as the balance between precipitation, runoff and change in groundwater storage. We compared our results with ET from remote-sensing datasets, reanalysis, models from the fifth and sixth Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects (CMIP5 and CMIP6), and in-situ flux-tower measurements, to provide a comprehensive overview of current understanding. Catchment-balance analysis revealed a gradient in ET from east to west/southwest across the Amazon basin, a strong seasonal cycle in basin-mean ET controlled by net incoming radiation, and no trend in ET over the past two decades. Satellite datasets, reanalysis and climate models all tended to overestimate the magnitude of ET relative to catchment-balance estimates, underestimate seasonal and interannual variability, and show conflicting positive and negative trends. Only two out of six satellite and model datasets analysed reproduced spatial and seasonal variation in Amazon ET, and captured the same controls on ET as indicated by catchment-balance analysis. CMIP5 and CMIP6 ET was inconsistent with catchment-balance estimates over all scales analysed. Overall, the discrepancies between data products and models revealed by our analysis demonstrate a need for more ground-based ET measurements in the Amazon, and to substantially improve model representation of this fundamental component of the Amazon hydrological cycle.