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 In Focus

Understanding seasonal streamflow variations in Central Brazil

Published 2001-01-16

In 2004, Dr Cintia Bertacchi Uvo, Department of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University, received a STINT Institutional Grant for long-term collaboration with Prof. Robin T. Clarke at the Institute for Hydraulics Research from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The project has received SEK 600 000 for a four-year period and is still running.

This cooperation integrates efforts in the area of climatology and water resources engineering and involves a group of scientists composed of hydrologists, climatologists and engineers with a common interest in hydrological modelling. Its main objective was to join efforts and exchange experiences towards the development of probabilistic forecast statements on seasonal streamflow amounts over Brazil and Scandinavia.

We had the chance of establishing strong ties between the two institutions by promoting the exchange of doctoral students and professors. Special efforts were taken for the development and teaching of courses in both institutions so that the local expertise could be exchanged between the institutions. This effort resulted in several courses of statistics and hydrological forecasting being taught in both institutions. Besides, doctoral students were co-advised by researchers from both institutions.

In Brazil, the upper Paraguay River basin was the hydrological basin to which seasonal climate modeling was developed. Within this basin located in central South America is the Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world, a reservation for bird nesting and wild life, threatened by climate change and human exploitation. A thorough research on the climatological mechanisms that causes precipitation over the Pantanal was part of this project. It became clear that the atmospheric circulation over South America brings moisture from the Amazon (northern South America) region to Pantanal in rainy years. In years when this mechanism is not efficient, a drought is predictable over the area, with serious consequences for the local fauna and flora. The determination of the efficiency of the atmospheric circulation to bring moisture to the Pantanal region is defined by the hemispherical circulation and is influenced even by the atmospheric circulation of the northern hemisphere.

Based on these findings, some seasonal hydrological forecast models were developed for the rivers of the region. These models used different methodologies that were thoroughly tested and compared. These were the first advances on seasonal forecast for the region. Until then, not seasonal hydrological forecast for the rivers of that region existed.

Cintia Bertacchi Uvo
Department of Water Resources Engineering
Lund University

Senast uppdaterad: 08-01-24 12:29

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