Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Atmospheric rivers

Southern Arizona got more than half its rain last winter from one atmospheric river event. Wikipedia describes an atmospheric river as a narrow corridor or filament of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere. There are apparently only 3-5 active in the atmosphere at any given time, but they move an estimated 90% of the north-south water vapor transport. [right, atmospheric river hitting the US West Coast. Credit, National Weather Service]

I say this because Marty Ralph from NOAA is visiting the University of Arizona this week to give a seminar on the topic. Jonathan Overpeck of the UA Institute for the Environment says Marty is one of the lead wizards behind the discovery of atmospheric rivers as a relatively common phenomena that are responsible for a surprising number of west coast, and western floods, plus more around the globe. And he’s determined with colleagues that they are predictable. A major discovery in the field of weather, climate and natural hazards.

Chief, Water Cycle Branch,
NOAA/ESRL/Physical Science Division
Boulder, CO
"Atmospheric Rivers"
Thursday, September 15, 4:00–5:00 PM, ILC Building, Room 150, Univ. of Arizona
See for talk schedule

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