Atmospheric Rivers: Drought Busters

Drought status in California before and after two atmospheric river events in January 2010 (middle panel shows precipitation from these systems over 20 inches in some areas). recently highlighted CW3E researcher Mike Dettinger’s work looking at atmospheric rivers as drought busters (click here to see the post). Mike’s article “Atmospheric Rivers as Drought Busters on the US West Coast” was published in December 2013 in the AMS Journal of Hydrometeorology (find a link to this article on the CW3E publications page or click here). Given the dry conditions that have persisted over the last few years causing severe to extreme drought over the US West this article has received well-deserved attention. The piece highlights the impact of an atmospheric river storm from January of 2010. This image (shown above) illustrates the drought conditions before the storm (left panel), the amount of precipitation from the storm (middle panel – showing some areas had over 20 inches of precipitation!) and the drought conditions after the storm (right panel – showing the moderate and severe drought region greatly reduced).