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Scientists use new methods to better forecast atmospheric rivers

Source(s):  Sierra Nevada Ally

By Scott King

Earlier this year, the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E) launched a new sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecast product to better predict the influence atmospheric rivers will have on the Western United States.


DeFlorio said the ability to forecast the presence, or absence, of atmospheric rivers can have meaningful implications for water levels and usage in the Western US.

“Atmospheric rivers are these narrow, elongated regions of horizontal water vapor transport in the atmosphere. They play important roles in the water cycle for many regions around the globe and in the Western US, in particular, the annual variation in precipitation during the winter is dominated by atmospheric rivers. They are a major contributor to the surplus or deficit of water in the West during the wintertime.”


DeFlorio said that developing accurate forecasting products for atmospheric river activity will play an increasingly larger role in the future, particularly as the scientific community begins to understand how a warming climate might affect their intensity and frequency.


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  • Publication date 21 Dec 2020

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