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Atmospheric Rivers | Los Angeles Times

February 2, 2023

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

If it seems to you that “atmospheric river” is a term you didn’t hear a decade ago, you’re right. It’s usage began around 2004 when scientists discovered that moisture was frequently carried in the atmosphere in long, relatively narrow ribbons. These ribbons can be 100-500 miles wide, 2,000 miles long, 10,000 feet above us, and contain more water than the Amazon River. They’re whats responsible for the short-term heavy heavy downpours the west coast has been battered by over the past month. As our atmosphere heats up due to climate change, we can expect more and probably larger such rivers, interspersed with — here it comes — periods of drought.

The Los Angeles Times publishes too few science articles, so when they do a good one, a trumpet should be blown.

Sean Green – Los Angeles Times

From high above an atmospheric river, a deep dive for data:
Los Angeles Times | Ian James (somewhere over the north Pacific Ocean | 2 Feb 2023

Article contains a 5 1/2 minute video.

From the article:

The science of atmospheric rivers has come a long way since [meteorologist Marty] Ralph and his colleagues published a 2004 study drawing on data from satellites and reconnaissance flights. Since then, Ralph said, more than 500 articles have been published in scientific journals with titles focusing on atmospheric rivers.

The concept of atmospheric rivers began to emerge in the 1970s, when research in the U.K. showed tha a low-level jet stream ahead of a cold front was connected to heavy rains in Britain.

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