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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-185
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-185
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 10 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 10 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

The Impact of Drought on Soil Moisture Trends across Brazilian Biomes

Flavio Lopes Ribeiro1, Mario Guevara2, Alma Vázquez-Lule2, Ana Paula Cunha3, Marcelo Zeri3, and Rodrigo Vargas2 Flavio Lopes Ribeiro et al.
  • 1University of Delaware, School of Public Policy and Administration, Disaster Research Center, Newark, DE, USA
  • 2University of Delaware, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Newark, DE, USA
  • 3National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters (CEMADEN), São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil

Abstract. Over the past decade, Brazil has experienced severe droughts across its territory, with important implications for soil moisture dynamics. Soil moisture variability has a direct impact on agriculture, water security, and ecosystem services. Nevertheless, there is currently little information on how soil moisture across different biomes respond to drought. In this study, we used satellite soil moisture data from the European Space Agency, from 2009 to 2015, to analyze differences in soil moisture responses to drought for each biome of Brazil: The Amazon, Atlantic Forest, Caatinga, Cerrado, Pampas and Pantanal. We found an overall soil moisture decline of −0.5 %/year (p < 0.01) at the national level. At the biome-level, Caatinga presented the most severe soil moisture decline (−4.4 % per year); whereas Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes showed no significant trend. The Amazon biome showed no trend but a sharp reduction of soil moisture from 2013 to 2015. In contrast, Pampas and Pantanal presented a positive trend (1.6 and 4.3 %/year, respectively). This information provides insights for drought risk reduction and soil conservation activities to minimize the impact of drought in the most vulnerable biomes. Furthermore, improving our understanding of soil moisture trends during periods of drought is crucial to enhance the national drought early warning system and develop customized strategies for adaptation to climate change in each biome.

Flavio Lopes Ribeiro et al.

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Flavio Lopes Ribeiro et al.

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Short summary
The main objective of this paper was to analyze differences in soil moisture responses to drought for each biome of Brazil. For that, we used satellite data from the European Space Agency, from 2009 to 2015. We found an overall soil moisture decline of −0.5 %/year at the country level and identified the most vulnerable biomes of Brazil. This information is crucial to enhance the national drought early warning system, develop strategies for drought risk reduction and soil moisture conservation.
The main objective of this paper was to analyze differences in soil moisture responses to...
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