Rivers in the Sky-A Watershed University Webinar
California has no mighty rivers like the Mississippi, but rivers of a different kind can flood the state. In winter 2017, more than a meter of precipitation fell in some places, unleashing floods, triggering landslides, and causing evacuation of 200,000 people. It’s all because of atmospheric rivers: long, narrow ribbons of water vapor rushing across the sky. Just a few hundred kilometers wide, atmospheric rivers stretch thousands of kilometers from the tropical oceans toward the poles, carrying on average 25 times as much water as the Mississippi River, but as vapor rather than liquid. When atmospheric rivers make landfall and the vapor condenses, they can release a staggering amount of rain and snow. Join Scripps Institution of Oceanography meteorologist Marty Ralph, Director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes as he describes the phenomena of atmospheric rivers, their impact on our weather, and the essential role modeling and prediction play in managing California’s precious water resources.
F. Martin Ralph, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes
Research, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA