Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Dr. Ashley Payne Interviewed on Role of Atmospheric Rivers in Storms

Posted: February 22, 2017

Dr. Ashley Payne Interviewed on Role of Atmospheric Rivers in Storms

Climate & Space President’s Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Ashley Payne was recently interviewed for an article in Science magazine. The article examined the role that atmospheric rivers have played in recent storms and flooding affecting the state of California. Scientists hope that by understanding the physics behind the atmospheric rivers they might be able to provide better storm forecasting in the future. 

An excerpt from the article: 

"...The seemingly endless string of storms has also been a boon, because after five crippling years, drought has been vanquished from all but the southern corners of the state. It’s all because of atmospheric rivers: long, narrow ribbons of water vapor rushing across the sky.

"Just a few hundred kilometers wide, atmospheric rivers stretch thousands of kilometers from the tropical oceans toward the poles, carrying up to 20 times as much water as the Mississippi River. That moisture gets tugged along by the windy paddle wheels of spinning storms ahead of its path. When the atmospheric rivers make landfall and the vapor condenses, they can release a staggering amount of rain and snow."

Follow this link to read the full article.