Ashley E. Payne

Asst. Prof. Payne publishes new atmospheric rivers paper in Nature

“Understanding how atmospheric river characteristics will respond to a warming climate is vital to the resilience of communities affected by them.”


Recently, a new paper on atmospheric rivers was published by Climate & Space Asst. Prof. Ashley Payne in the Nature Reviews Earth & Environment journal. The paper is titled “Responses and impacts of atmospheric rivers to climate change.”

Prof. Payne provides a summary below:

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are narrow and elongated transient pathways of anomalously strong horizontal water vapor transport. Variability in AR characteristics and behavior has direct implications for the risks and impacts associated with their landfall. Recent research has only begun to highlight the essential role these features play not only in the hydrology along coastlines, but also in continental interiors in the mid-latitudes as well as radiative effects at high-latitudes and global energy transport. Increased resilience of populations affected by ARs is directly linked to our ability to better understand how they will respond to climate change.

The focus of this review is to summarize the state of our knowledge on this topic. We start with a brief overview of atmospheric rivers in the current climate to set a baseline for their observed and projected changes. We then summarize expected responses of ARs within a theoretical framework and finish with a review of observed and projected changes in associated impacts on hydrology over land in the mid-latitudes. Our purpose here is to provide a global scope of the current and projected impacts of these important features using results from theory, modeling and observations. 

Read the full paper: