Atmospheric River Analysis Boosts NWS Climate Warning System

New analysis on atmospheric rivers in Alaska may strengthen the Nationwide Climate Service’s warning programs, scientists have stated.

A brand new research checked out how atmospheric rivers produced “floods, landslides, and avalanches that threaten lives and livelihoods,” in southwest Alaska.

Atmospheric rivers are corridors of concentrated, tropical moisture that journey by means of the ambiance. When they’re unleashed, they lead to heavy rain and snowfall. Current research have prompt that they’re rising throughout the globe because of local weather change.

Scientists concerned within the research imagine their analysis may assist enhance predictions and forecasts from the Nationwide Climate Service within the state.

A panorama in Klukwan, Alaska. This rural space was one neighborhood studied by the scientists.


They discovered that atmospheric rivers fall on southeast Alaska on eight to 14 days a month. Nonetheless, solely six a yr account for 91 p.c of precipitation extremes, the research confirmed.

In addition they discovered that rural and indigenous communities – Hoonah, Klukwan, Skagway, Yakutat, Craig and Kasaan – usually tend to face “stronger moisture transport.”

“The course of the moisture transport performs a task in precipitation outcomes in every neighborhood,” the research authors wrote. “Coastal communities like Yakutat expertise increased moisture transport and precipitation total, and though moisture transport from the southeast is extra widespread, excessive precipitation occasions are extra widespread when moisture transport comes from the southwest.”

The research confirmed that inland communities together with Klukwan and Skagway had a decrease moisture transport but noticed the same quantity of rainfall in that space, “and 80 p.c to 90 p.c of maximum atmospheric river days have south-southwesterly or south-southeasterly moisture transport.”

“The outcomes illustrate the chance to include further traits of Southeast Alaskan ARs to enhance situational consciousness, forecasts, and messaging from the Nationwide Climate Service Workplace in Juneau, Alaska for the weak communities that they serve,” the research authors wrote.

“This research focuses on these six communities as a result of they recognized particular wants concerning hazards triggered by excessive precipitation and joined the Southeast Alaska Coastlines and Folks [(CoPe) Kutí (indigenous Tlingit word for “weather”)] Hub to handle the shared problem of predicting these hazards now and sooner or later,” the authors wrote within the research. “Though the outcomes offered right here give attention to these six communities, the identical methodology may simply be reproduced for different communities in Southeast Alaska.”

Atmospheric rivers may cause excessive climate, however they continue to be pretty tough to foretell. Though new strategies are being developed typically, the realm requires extra analysis.

A current research revealed earlier this month discovered that moisture content material within the air will solely improve as a result of rising floor temperatures. As local weather change worsens, so will these climate occasions. It will improve the variety of atmospheric rivers that type, and the intense climate that they typically carry.

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