Observational constraints indicate risk of drying in the Amazon basin

Hideo Shiogama, Seita Emori, Naota Hanasaki, Manabu Abe, Yuji Masutomi, Kiyoshi Takahashi, Toru Nozawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Climate warming due to human activities will be accompanied by hydrological cycle changes. Economies, societies and ecosystems in South America are vulnerable to such water resource changes. Hence, water resource impact assessments for South America, and corresponding adaptation and mitigation policies, have attracted increased attention. However, substantial uncertainties remain in the current water resource assessments that are based on multiple coupled Atmosphere Ocean General Circulation models. This uncertainty varies from significant wetting to catastrophic drying. By applying a statistical method, we characterized the uncertainty and identified global-scale metrics for measuring the reliability of water resource assessments in South America. Here, we show that, although the ensemble mean assessment suggested wetting across most of South America, the observational constraints indicate a higher probability of drying in the Amazon basin. Thus, over-reliance on the consensus of models can lead to inappropriate decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Article number253
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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