The Earth Observing System Regional Amazon Model Project Document


This project addresses the question of how extensive land use change or more subtle regional climate variations modify the natural functioning and structure of the Amazonian ecosystems, from routing of water and its chemical load through precipitation and drainage systems back to the atmosphere and the oceans. The biogeochemical and hydrological processes of this and other continental-scale tropical regions may function in fundamentally different ways than the better-known temperate or boreal regions of the world. The focus of this project is to model, within the context of land-cover changes, the transport and distribution of water, sediment and bioactive chemicals along the Amazon valley network and the transfer of biogenic gases between the land surface and the atmosphere along with mobilization of particulate matter through the river system to the ocean.

Table of Contents:

1. Project/Campaign Overview:

Name of Project/Campaign:

The Regional Amazon Model: Patterns and Processes of Change in the Amazon River Basin

Project/Campaign Introduction:

The Earth's continental-scale river systems represent some of the largest and most dynamic environmental units on the planet. They focus the runoff, sediment and chemical yields of large fractions of the continents into valleys and coastal zones. Throughout Earth history, these alluvial storages have sequestered sediment, carbon, and other biogeochemical materials, and have generated highly variable habitats for plants and animals. Today they are foci of settlement for vast human polulations and thus they have enormosu social as well as ecological significance. These large river systems connect continental-scale processes such as land-atmosphere interactions, mountain building, sedimentation, and human migrations to the most vital parts of the planet for human settlement and for a large part of the rest of the biosphere.

The Amazon River system is a fruitful first subject for the development of such a theory, since it is the largest and one of the most pristine of the set of continental-scale river systems. It is relatively unaffected by human activities, and is geologically and climatically rather simple (at least when viewed from the continental perspective). It's significance lies in the size of the basin and the magnitude of material fluxes which the river and its basin modulate at the interface between an equatorial climate, a tectonically active mountain chain, and a huge forested craton being invaded by human populations.

Project/Campaign Mission Objectives:

The interests of this project are in continental biogeochemistry, hydrology, and sedimentation. The immediate foci of the project are:

1.) Modeling the transport and distribution of water, sediment and bioactive chemicals along the Amazon valley network,
2.) Modeling the transfer of biogenic gases between the land surface and the atmosphere, and routeing dissolved and particulate matter from the land surface along the river network, and into the ocean, and
3.) Land-cover changes in the Amazon Basin.


Remote Sensing

Geographic Region(s):

Primary area of interest:

45 degree west,
80 degree west,
6 degree north,
20 degree south

Detailed Project/Campaign Description:

This project is a NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) Interdisciplinary Investigation. The purpose of this research project is to understand biogeochemistry, hydrology, and sedimentation of the Amazon River and its drainage basin. We have chosen the Amazon as the first target in our study of Earth's continental scale river systems, which represent some of the largest and most dynamic environmental units on the planet. Today they are foci of settlement for vast human populations and thus they have enormous social as well as ecological significance. The researchers involved in this project, while located at various institutes, share a common focus, the Patterns and Processes of Change in the Amazon River Basin.

For more information on the project, see Welcome to the EOS Amazon Project at the University of Washington.

2. Data Availability:

Data Type(s):

The primary data products and data types created for use in the EOS-Amazon modeling project are summarized in general below:

Model Input:

 Data Product			Description

River Network		Vector (or raster) line coverage extracted from the DCW dataset
Stream Density  	Distance to nearest stream from CIAT dataset
Basin Boundary  	Digitized watershed boundary (vector format)
Basin Boundary Mask  	Digitized watershed boundary (raster format)
Political  		National & state boundaries from DCW dataset
Elevation  		5 minute resolution from ETOPO5
Altitude  		Digitized 5 altitude zones
Soil texture 		Derived classified texture types from RADAM, CIAT, and FAO soils datasets
Vegetation  		Derived classified vegetation from CIAT dataset
Rooting depth  		Derived classified depth from CIAT dataset


Precipitation -
a.) Interpolated surface from DNAEE rain gauge station, daily totals, Monthly and annual means, 1979-1989
b.) Derived Remote Sensing product

Temperature -
a.) Interpolated surface monthly means 1984-1989
b.) Derived Remote Sensing product

Photosynthetic Active vegetation
a.) Derived Remote Sensing product

Albedo & radiation
a.) Derived Remote Sensing product

Input/Output Media:

Data can be obtained by FTP or on CD-ROM via the ORNL DAAC's LBA data lister.

Proprietary Status:

This data is free for public use.

3. Data Access:

Data Center Location:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Distributed Active Archive Center

Contact Information:

ORNL Distibuted Active Archive Center User Services Office
Bldg. 1507, M.S. 6407
P.O. Box 2008
Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6407
USA Voice: (423) 241-3952
Fax: (423) 574-4665
The data is also available via the ORNL DAAC's search and order system.

Associated Costs:

There is no cost for obtaining this data.

4. Principal Investigator Information:

Co-Investigators at the University of Washington:
Dr. Thomas Dunne, Geological Scienes
Dr. Jeffrey E. Richey, School of Oceanography
Dr. John B. Adams, Geological Scienes - Remote Sensing

5. Submitting Investigator Information:

Dr. Jeffrey E. Richey
School of Oceanography
University of Washington

6. References:

No publications to date.

7. Glossary of Terms:

A Glossary of Terms for biogeochemical dynamics data is available, as is the EOSDIS Glossary.

8. List of Acronyms:


Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, "Land in Tropical America", CIAT is a nonprofit organization devoted to the agricultural and economic development of the lowland tropics.


The Digital Chart of the World


Departamento Nacional de Aguas e Energia Eletrica


Earth Observing System


Radar of Brazilian Amazon, a radar image reserach program in the 1970's of the Brazilian Amazon now maintained by the Instituto Brasileiro De Geografia e Estatistica (IBGE).


Uniform Resource Locator

A List of Acronyms for biogeochemical dynamics data is available, as is the list of EOSDIS acronyms

9. Document Information:

Document Revision Date:

April 19, 1996

Document Review Date:

April 19, 1996

Document ID:

No information available at this time.

Document Curator:

DAAC Staff

Document URL:

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Revision Date: Thursday, 11-Aug-2022 13:32:18 EDT