Atmospheric River Study Reveals Area of Improvement for High-Impact Weather Forecasts

Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) play a significant role in precipitation patterns and atmospheric circulation, and in order to accurately forecast high-impact weather events, the AR model itself must be accurate. In the recent Geophysical Research Letter from the American Geophysical Union, “The Gauging and Modeling of Rivers in the Sky” the ability of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Integrated Forecasting System to model ARs was evaluated by using observations from the 2018 AR Reconnaissance field campaign over the Northeast Pacific Ocean.

Authors, including Center research affiliate and Scripps’ Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes Director Dr. Marty Ralph, found errors in the AR model’s water vapor transport, most likely due to uncertainties in low-level winds. By identifying the weaknesses in AR models, research can be better focused on improving the prediction of these high-impact weather events.

To read the full paper, visit here.

Learn more about Dr. Marty Ralph and our other Research Affiliates here.

Photo by NOAA ESRL