The Amazon River mainstem of Brazil is so regulated by differences in the timing of tributary inputs and by seasonal storage of water on floodplains that maximum discharges exceed minimum discharges by a factor of only 3. Large tributaries that drain the southern Amazon River basin reach their peak discharges two months earlier than does the mainstem. The resulting backwater in the lowermost 800 km of two large southern tributaries, the Madeira and Puru??s rivers, causes falling river stages to be as much as 2-3 m higher than rising stages at any given discharge. Large tributaries that drain the northernmost Amazon River basin reach their annual minimum discharges three to four months later than does the mainstem. In the lowermost 300-400 km of the Negro River, the largest northern tributary and the fifth largest river in the world, the lowest stages of the year correspond to those of the Amazon River mainstem rather than to those in the upstream reaches of the Negro River. ?? 1991 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
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Backwater effects in the Amazon River basin of Brazil