National Public Radio interviewed Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego climate scientist Marty Ralph Friday on the topic of atmospheric rivers and on a specific atmospheric river now bearing down on California. Historically atmospheric rivers have helped the state end droughts but have also caused catastrophic flooding. Ralph and other Scripps scientists are working with county, state, and federal agencies to monitor this storm. In Sonoma County, site of efforts to make reservoir management more effective using better atmospheric river forecasting, researchers have established stations at multiple locations along the Russian River to observe conditions including amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere, soil moisture, and streamflow levels as part of an ongoing mission, strengthened by legislation authorized by California Gov. Jerry Brown this summer, to improve understanding of the weather phenomenon that brings up to half of California's annual precipitation.
For up-to-date information on atmospheric rivers, including real-time observations, forecasts, and summaries, please see updates under "What's New" on the website of Scripps' Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E).