Northeast Brazil: Lasting Drought Conditions

climate change, drought

Northeast Brazil (while typically drought-prone) endured an unusually long dry season and water shortages in Piauí, with the effects reaching as far south as São Paulo. As Latin America Press indicates, water supply reservoirs for São Paulo are at 30% capacity, when this time last year they were at 40% capacity. Climate change is thought to be a factor in the warming trends, as ocean temperatures are rising in the North Atlantic off the coast of Brazil.

Because of an increase in forest fires in the Amazon this year, as well continued drought conditions, the president of Brazil may begin to incorporate climate change into the political agenda. The outcome of continued drought in this tropical region is far-reaching: fires decrease biodiversity, fires reduce vegetation in the Amazon (a massive Carbon Sink), drought conditions obstruct the agricultural economy of Brazil, and Brazilians face severe water shortages.

A Landsat Image of the Amazon River, Brazil, on November 30, 2000. Credit: NASA,, Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, Michigan State University

Scientists with NASA have been researching Amazon Basin conditions through the use of satellite imagery. They have found some surprising results regarding the resiliency of the Amazon Forest to the severe drought conditions of 2005-2006.

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