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Issues Affecting the Río de la Plata Basin

34.6S 58.3W

May 5th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Rivers

Argentina – May 4th, 2013

The Río de la Plata Basin, with a surface area of over 3,200,000 km2 is the second largest drainage basin in South America and the fourth largest in the world. It covers the whole of Paraguay as well as considerable parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay, including within its central plain the most extensive corridor of fluvial wetlands on the planet, as well as some of the most densely inhabited mega-cities in South America and in the world.

The ecosystems in the region, and its wetlands in particular, are significant examples of the abundance, variety and quality of natural resources, which facilitate the production of a large number of environmental goods and services of great economic and ecological importance.

The natural resources of the Río de la Plata Basin and the associated goods and services are threatened by factors such as the fragmentation of natural ecosystems, the expansion of agricultural borders, large-scale livestock rearing, major infrastructure projects, urban development and pollution, which not only affect the wetlands and biodiversity but also the local communities that depend on these resources, not to mention food safety and the global climate.

Unsustainable production is affecting the traditional production models in the region, increasing the impact of drought and flooding, and reducing the capacity for adaptation to climate change, which has a negative impact on the welfare of local populations, creating conditions that give rise to migration to large cities and increasing
poverty (click here for more information).

Lagoons and Wetlands in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina

28.2S 57.1W

April 7th, 2013 Category: Fires, Lakes, Wetlands

Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina – April 6th, 2013

Several bodies of water can be observed in this image of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Near the coast are two lagoons: Lagoa dos Patos, in Brazil, and Lagoa Merim/Laguna Merín, shared by Brazil and Uruguay. There is a strong presence of sediments in both lakes.

In the upper left quadrant of the image are the Esteros del Iberá, or Iberá Wetlands, a mix of swamps, bogs, stagnant lakes, lagoons, natural slough and courses of water in the center and center-north of the province of Corrientes, Argentina. The Esteros are the second-largest wetlands in world after Pantanal in Brazil. They are of pluvial origin, with a total area 15,000 to 20,000 km². A fire can be seen near this wetlands area, releasing a white plume of smoke towards the south.

Sun Glint on Rio de la Plata Estuary and Rincón del Bonete Lake, Argentina and Uruguay – December 15th, 2012

34.8S 57.1W

December 15th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

Argentina – December 13th, 2012

Sun glint causes the waters of the Rio de la Plata Estuary and the Rincón del Bonete Lake (upper right) to have a silvery color. The estuary is formed by the confluence of the Uruguay and Paraná Rivers, and it is located between Argentina and Uruguay. The Rincón del Bonete Lake is the largest body of fresh water in Uruguay. It is an artificial lake formed by a dam on the course of Río Negro. It was constructed in 1945 and has a surface of about 1,240 square kilometres (480 sq mi).

Varied Hues of Sediments in Rio de la Plata Estuary, Argentina and Uruguay

34.6S 58.3W

December 7th, 2012 Category: Rivers, Sediments

Argentina – December 2nd, 2012

A beautiful mix of colors from sediments and algal growth can be seen in the Rio de la Plata Estuary, between Argentina (below, left) and Uruguay (above, right): many different hues including dark brown, tan, greyish brown, green and blue are all present. Visible on the Argentine side is the country’s capital city, Buenos Aires, appearing as a large grey area. Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is visible further east, on the upper banks.

Sediments in Lagoa Mirim and Lagoa dos Patos, Brazil and Uruguay

32.7S 52.7W

December 3rd, 2012 Category: Lakes, Sediments

Uruguay and Brazil – December 2nd, 2012

Lagoa Mirim, as it is known in Brazil, or Laguna Merín in Uruguay, is a large estuarine lagoon which extends from the southern Rio Grande do Sul state in Brazil into eastern Uruguay. Lagoa Mirim is about 108 miles (174 km) long by 6 to 22 miles (35 km) wide.

Lagoa Mirim is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a sandy, partially barren isthmus. It is more irregular in outline than its larger neighbor to the north, Lagoa dos Patos, and discharges into the latter through São Gonçalo Channel, which is navigable by small boats. Here, Lagoa Mirim appears greyish brown, while its neighbor to the north shows a mix of dark brown, reddish tan and green.

Both lagoons are the remains of an ancient depression in the coastline shut in by sand beaches built up by the combined action of wind and oceanic currents. They are at the same level as the ocean, but their waters are affected by the tides and are brackish only a short distance above the Rio Grande outlet.

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