|Title||Characterizing the influence of atmospheric river orientation and intensity on precipitation distributions over North Coastal California|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2017|
|Authors||Hecht C.W, Cordeira JM|
|Journal||Geophysical Research Letters|
|Type of Article||Article|
|Keywords||caljet; impacts; inland penetration; landfall; moisture; mountains; rain; satellite; sensitivity; west-coast|
Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are long (>2000km) and narrow (500-1000km) corridors of enhanced vertically integrated water vapor and enhanced integrated water vapor transport (IVT) that are responsible for a majority of global poleward moisture transport and can result in extreme orographic precipitation. Observational evidence suggests that ARs within different synoptic-scale flow regimes may contain different water vapor source regions, orientations, and intensities and may result in different precipitation distributions. This study uses k-means clustering to objectively identify different orientations and intensities of ARs that make landfall over the California Russian River watershed. The ARs with different orientations and intensities occur within different synoptic-scale flow patterns in association with variability in IVT direction and quasi-geostrophic forcing for ascent and lead to different precipitation distributions over the Russian River watershed. These differences suggest that both mesoscale upslope moisture flux and synoptic-scale forcing for ascent are important factors in modulating precipitation distributions during landfalling ARs.