Atmospheric rivers have been in the news a lot over the past couple of months, from a late October atmospheric river that brought record-breaking rainfall across Northern California to a mid-November storm that led to catastrophic flooding in Washington. A new atmospheric river storm is hitting the Western U.S. now and more are likely on their way. But what exactly is an atmospheric river?
Atmospheric rivers aren’t a new phenomenon on the West Coast, but this type of storm has drawn greater attention in recent years as scientists have learned more about how they work.
Atmospheric rivers transport water vapor from the tropics towards the poles.
Atmospheric rivers are the largest “rivers” of fresh water on Earth.
There’s a rating system for atmospheric rivers like there is for hurricanes.
Though an atmospheric river can help extinguish fall fires, they can increase the hazard of past and future wildfires.
An atmospheric river mega-storm could be California’s other “Big One.”
Atmospheric rivers are expected to increase in intensity in California due to climate change.