Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Amazon River at Lowest Level in 40 Years

The drop has been caused by a lack of rain and high temperatures Photo: CORBIS. Photo courtesy: telegraph

Officials in the Peruvian city of Iquitos said the mighty Amazon river level had fallen to a mere 14.4ft, a point not seen in more than four decades; and, all indications are that the level is to drop further.

These record low water levels have brought economic havoc to areas of Peru that depend on the Amazon for shipping. In many cases, there is literally not enough water and/or navigable water to float their boats. This is not the only problem either. The lack of water as denies boats usable ports and harbours.

Over the past three weeks, at least six boats have run aground and been stranded due to lack of river flow. This crisis has forced several shipping companies to suspend service leading to economic hardships in the parts of Peru that depend on the Amazon for shipping.

Global warming would appear to be the cause of this problem. Environmentalists think that lack of rainfall coupled with high temperatures have led to the lack of water in the Amazon.

Map showing the Amazon drainage basin with the Amazon River highlighted. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

The map above gives an idea of just how many countries are affected by this river; and, the number of people that can potentially be impacted by any further water loss in the Amazon.. The Amazon is the second-longest river in the world, after the Nile; but, discharges far more water at its mouth than any other.

It also drains more territory than any other. The Amazon drains Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Venezuela before running across Brazil and into the Atlantic.

Via telegraph

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