What is an atmospheric river? Pineapple Express? AP explains the weather phenomenon Camer

What is an atmospheric river?  Pineapple Express?  AP explains the weather phenomenon  Camer

The GOES-West GeoColor composite satellite image taken at 5:30 PM EDT, Wednesday, January 31, 2024, and provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows a storm moving over California and the western United States. It is set to make its way into Northern California, bringing warnings of heavy rain, possible flooding and high winds. (NOAA via AP)

The storm that struck California this week was fueled by an atmospheric river, a plume of moisture that extended across the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. Here’s a look at the phenomenon:


What is an atmospheric river?

Atmospheric rivers are long, relatively narrow bands of water vapor that form over the ocean and flow across the sky, transporting much of the moisture from the tropics to northern latitudes.

They occur globally but are particularly important on the West Coast of the United States, where they account for 30% to 50% of annual rainfall and are vital to water supplies but can also cause storms that produce floods and mudslides, according to the National Oceanic and Forest Centers. Atmosphere management.

Atmospheric rivers, typically formed by winds associated with hurricanes, range from 250 to 375 miles (400 to 600 km) wide and move under the influence of other weather conditions.

Many weak weather river events. But powerful ones can transfer extraordinary amounts of moisture. Studies have shown that they can carry between seven and 15 times the average amount of water the Mississippi River discharges daily, according to the US Geological Survey.

Forty-six atmospheric rivers will make landfall on the U.S. West Coast during water year 2023, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Center for Western Weather and Extreme Waters. Nine of them were rated as strong, two as extreme and one as exceptional. California experienced widespread flooding and heavy snowfall.


What happens when an atmospheric river reaches the ground?

When moisture-laden air moves over mountain ranges like the Sierra Nevada along the California-Nevada line, water vapor rises and cools, becoming heavy precipitation that falls as rain or snow, according to NOAA.

While traditionally cold winter storms from the North Pacific build snowpack in the Sierra, atmospheric rivers tend to be warm. Snow may still fall at the highest elevations, but rain usually falls on snowpack at lower elevations. This could quickly lead to snowmelt, runoff, flooding and reduced snowpack needed for California’s water supply.


What is pineapple quick?

It is the nickname of a powerful atmospheric river in the tropical Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.


Where did the term atmospheric river come from?

The name came from research published in the 1990s by scientists Yong Zhou and Reginald E. Newell of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Atmospheric rivers are often referred to as ARs.

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