Joint Brazilian/U.S. project to study formation of rain in the Amazon rainforest

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Triggering rainfall in the Brazilian Amazon jungle is the focus of a Penn State/Brazilian project that is part of the GoAmazon program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and Brazilian agencies.

Leading the investigation into rainfall is Marcelo Chamecki, assistant professor of meteorology, Penn State. On the Brazilian side, Antonio Manzi, researcher, National Institute for Research in the Amazon, and Celso von Randow, researcher, National Institute for Space Research, are the co-investigators. The GoAmazon program will take place this year near the city of Manaus, Brazil.

Chamecki and his team will investigate "Bridging Land-Surface Fluxes and Aerosol Concentrations to Triggering Convective Rainfall" in the Amazonia region. They will study amounts and types of aerosols influencing the formation of clouds that produce torrential rains in the tropics, using instruments placed in towers and tethered balloons. The aim of the project is to better understand how the Amazon rainforest can influence the formation of storms and how water is internally cycled within the Amazonia basin.

Studies will demonstrate the influences of naturally occurring aerosols on storm formation in the world's largest source of natural particles and most copious rainfall.

The three-year project is supported by $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric System Research program. Brazilian funding agencies are contributing $2 million to support the work being done by local investigators.

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Last Updated May 08, 2014