BBC Future

Power of Nature

Amazon’s ‘invisible flying rivers’

The Amazon is famous for its mighty river which flows from the heart of South America to the Atlantic Ocean.

The great river has the largest drainage basin in the world and single-handedly accounts for around one-fifth of the world's total river flow.

But there is another little-known river that flies above the canopy which is just as powerful and just as important.

The trees in the Amazon suck up water from the ground and pump out billion of tonnes of water vapour a day into vast “flying rivers”.

In this film Dr Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez, from Columbia University and Cirfor (Center for International Forestry Research), lead scientist with The Nature Conservancy Dr M Sanjayan, ecological economist Dr Trista Patterson and environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev, reveal how this water is carried across Latin America where it falls as rain and nourishes the agricultural economies of these countries.

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