California Is Being Drenched By An “Atmospheric River”– What Are These Rivers In The Sky?

“Atmospheric rivers move with the weather and are present somewhere on Earth at any given time,” note NOAA. Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

Throw those rain slickers on and slip into those mud boots if you’re in California, because it’s going to be a muddy, windy, rainy few days. A weather phenomenon called an “atmospheric river” is snaking its way through the golden state.

An atmospheric river is a slender, transient column of condensed water vapor from the tropics located up in the atmosphere – “like a river in the sky,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). When the “river” makes it to land, it’s usually in the form of heavy rain or snowfall.

This current event is also known as a “Pineapple Express” because the moisture originated near Hawaii and traveled to the Western US. Typically, atmospheric rivers are around 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) long and 400-600 kilometers (250 to 375 miles) wide. They can carry water vapor 7.5-15 times the average water flow at the mouth of the Mississippi river.

While this sounds doom and gloom, it’s not all bad news. As long as everyone is safe during the event, the rainfall can […]

Summary
California Is Being Drenched By An “Atmospheric River”– So What Are These Rivers In The Sky?
Article Name
California Is Being Drenched By An “Atmospheric River”– So What Are These Rivers In The Sky?
Description
Atmospheric rivers may be 1,000 miles long and 375 miles wide. They can carry 7.5-15 times the average water flow at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Author
Publisher Name
IFL Science
Publisher Logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *