On the Coast: Before and After the Parade of Atmospheric Rivers – Planet Snapshots issue 59 via Medium

Swirls of sediment off the coast of California on January 17, 2023, and a view of same area off the coast of California under more typical conditions on January 23, 2023 (Satellite image by Joshua Stevens, courtesy of NASA earth observatory).

California is left drenched, flooded, and perhaps a little hopeful after recurring atmospheric rivers pummeled the state for 2 weeks straight. The rains are a small reprieve for the area’s years-long drought. But the sheer volume of rainfall was much more than the parched landscape could handle. With a turn of the faucet, the state went from too dry to too wet in what’s called a “weather whiplash,” transforming the Golden State to shades of brown…

Global Weather Patterns and Coastlines

Coasts are sensitive to sea level rise, changes in the frequency and intensity of storms, increases in precipitation, and warmer ocean temperatures. In addition, rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing the oceans to absorb more of the gas and become more acidic. This rising acidity can have significant impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems.

The impacts of climate change are likely to worsen problems that coastal areas already face. Confronting existing challenges that affect man-made infrastructure and coastal ecosystems, such as shoreline erosion, coastal flooding, and water pollution, is already a concern in many areas. Addressing the additional stress of climate change may require new approaches to managing land, water, waste, and ecosystems…

Atmospheric rivers hitting California will become even more intense. Here’s how they work – the San Francisco Chronicle

The Cement Ship, SS Palo Alto continues to be battered by strong surf, Seacliff State Beach, CA Januray 13, 2023 © 2023 Shmuel Thaler - Santa Cruz Sentinel.

The same weather that replenishes California water supplies could bring the next megaflood.

A procession of storms is drenching Northern California this week, with rainfall already topping 2 inches in San Francisco and surpassing 8 inches in the Santa Cruz Mountains. More precipitation is on tap through the weekend, prompting concerns of widespread urban flooding and potential landslides…

What Will ‘Weather Whiplash’ Mean for California? – the New York Times

Coast Guard Air Station Astoria crew deploys to Russian River during Northern California floods (by by Petty Officer 3rd Class Taylor Bacon CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

California is built upon the great gamble of irrigation. Left alone, much of the land in the Western United States would be inhospitable to teeming cities. But we’re Americans — we couldn’t let the desert stand in our way.

More than a century ago, the United States Bureau of Land Reclamation began taming the water in the West…

Welcome to the era of weather whiplash – Vox

New Year's Eve Storm drenches Santa Cruz County, CA, creating flooding, slides, slip outs, downed trees and wire ©2023 Shmuel Thaler - Santa Cruz Sentinel.

California’s floods reveal a likely climate change symptom: Quick shifts between opposing weather conditions. In less than a week, the story about California’s weather shifted dramatically. Just before New Year’s Eve, the state was running out of water following two decades of severe drought. Then, it started to rain and rain..California was battered by a series of atmospheric rivers…

What are atmospheric rivers? – NOAA

Infographic: The science behind atmospheric rivers (courtesy of NOAA)

Atmospheric rivers are relatively long, narrow regions in the atmosphere – like rivers in the sky – that transport most of the water vapor outside of the tropics. These columns of vapor move with the weather, carrying an amount of water vapor roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River. When the atmospheric rivers make landfall, they often release this water vapor in the form of rain or snow…