The Amazon river is the main in South America and the largest in the world, containing more water than the Nile, the Yangtze and the Mississippi combined. Its watershed waters a vast region and supports thousands of species of living beings, some of which have not yet been classified.
The vast Amazon basin (Amazonia), the largest plain in Latin America, has an area of approximately 2.7 million square miles (7 million square km) and is almost twice as large as that of the Congo River, another large equatorial drainage system of the Earth.
Extending approximately 1,725 miles (2,780 km) from north to south at its widest point, the basin includes most of Brazil and Peru, significant parts of Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia, and a small area of Venezuela as seen on the map of the Amazon River.
Approximately two-thirds of the main stream of the Amazon and, by far, most of its basin are located within Brazil. The area of influence of Tocantins-Araguaia in the state of Pará covers another 300,000 square miles (777,000 square km).
The climate of the Amazon River is warm, rainy and humid. The lengths of day and night are the same at the equator (which runs only slightly north of the river), and normally clear nights favor the relatively rapid radiation of the heat received from the sun during the 12-hour day.
There is a greater difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures than between the warmer and colder months. Therefore, the night can be considered the winter of the Amazon.
During the winter months of the southern hemisphere, a powerful mass of south-polar air occasionally drifts north into the Amazon region, causing a sharp drop in temperature, known locally as friagem, when mercury can register at 50 ° F (around 14 ° C).
At any time of the year, several days of heavy rain can be replaced by clear, sunny days and cool, cool nights with relatively low humidity. In the lower reaches of the river basin, refreshing trade winds blow most of the year.
Rainfall in the lowlands generally ranges between 60 and 120 inches (1,500 to 3,000 mm) annually in the central Amazon basin (for example, Manaus). On the east and northwest sides of the basin, rainfall occurs throughout the year, while in the central part there is a defined drier period, usually from June to November.
The dry season is not intense enough to stop the growth of the plants, but it can facilitate the initiation and spread of fires, whether arsonian or natural. To the west, the Andes form a natural barrier that prevents most of the water vapor from leaving the basin.
Discover Amazon is discover its great cultural, biological and economic importance. The river is the base of the survival in the basin, that provides a great variety of habitats for thousands of alive beings. The wildlife is incalculable; roughly, the Amazon contains 10 percent of the world's known species, and a third of the known animals live in its jungle.
Typical examples of its fauna are the piranhas, the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), the pink dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), catfish, the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), the jaguar (Panthera onca), the arapaimas, the anacondas, the candirú (Vandellia cirrhosa) and the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus); its waters are also visited by some sharks and many species of fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds.
The Amazon jungle is a biome 2 times larger than India, with approximately 6.7 million km2. Its tropical rainforest is the largest in the world, although other environments such as savannas, swamps and flood forests stand out. The aquatic vegetation consists of lilies, water lilies, water lettuces, and others with long stems. The Victoria amazonica species is endemic to the river.
Since the Amazon River Peru is navigable to Iquitos, it is not a very important communication channel between the regions, as is the Mississippi. The natives of the Amazon have hunted, fished and collected food since ancient times, and used other resources to satisfy their needs.
At present, people continue to fish in their waters and these are used to drink, irrigate and navigate. Gold has also been sought in the course and its tributaries. However, it is the felling of forests to obtain timber, the most outstanding economic activity in the Amazon.
The murky color of the Amazon River water is due to suspended sediments and not precisely to pollution, which does exist as a consequence, for the most part, mercury from gold mines, discharges and population increase near him. Overfishing is another threat that affects the food chains on the one hand and the economy on the other, while the construction of roads prevents the normal movement of the species and can alter the hydrology of the river.
Despite its importance, the Amazon rainforest experiences a decline due to deforestation. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), during the last 50 years the Amazon has lost up to 17 percent of the jungle cover.