Dry spell in rainforest

Tuesday 26th Oct 2010 by theWeather Club

This year of extremes that has seen flooding, heat waves and ice storms hit millions across the globe and of course witnessed the devastating floods in Pakistan is ending with a drought in, of all places, the Amazon rainforest. The Brazilian government announced aid of 13.5 million dollars for Amazonas state in the northern region of the Amazon which has been hardest hit by the worst drought in decades.  

The funds will be used for food delivery, water purification and pumping water into places where some communities have been cut off by the drop in river levels. Officials said the level of the Amazon River at Manaus, the regional capital, is near its lowest level since 1963.

The withering of the Amazon has produced unusual scenes of children playing football in the dried-up riverbed of Quarenta, a tributary that crosses Manaus. But there are also more serious issues for the locals. Several remote towns that rely on the waterways as their main transport links have been cut off as some tributaries have all but disappeared. The air force has already distributed 500 tonnes of food and supplies to some areas which are normally dependent on water transport.

Scientists say it appears Brazil is headed for its worst drought since 1963 with data to be collected up to October being expected to confirm this. So it seems that even as we head into November, this year of extremes is not over yet.