NASA tracking this year’s global El Niño impacts

Wildfire risk growing in tropics

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A strong El Niño is peaking across the Pacific Ocean this winter.

Staff Report

Along with being one of the strongest El Niños on record, this year’s edition of the cyclical weather event in the Pacific will be one of the most studied.

NASA, for example, has been tracking the effects of El Niño via satellite data, which shows global impacts, from increasing fire danger in some tropical regions to a reduction of certain types of pollution in other areas.

Some of the findings were presented this week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, where researchers said that atmospheric rivers, significant sources of rainfall, tend to intensify during El Niño events, and that California may see some relief from an extreme multiyear drought. Continue reading

Study says UK to see more flooding, as global warming makes atmospheric rivers more frequent and intense

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A GOES 11 satellite image shows a large atmospheric river aimed across California in December 2010.

Warmer, wetter atmosphere will generate more extreme weather

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are likely to drive more frequent and intense flooding in the UK, as global warming increases the threat of atmospheric rivers in mid-latitudes.

In their study, researchers, from the University of Reading and University of Iowa found that the number of atmospheric river events will probably double by late this century, compared to the number of events between 1980 ad 2005. Continue reading

New weather sites will take close look at atmospheric rivers

Coastal observatories in California will measure low-level winds and moisture to generate better forecasts

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A NOAA weather graphic shows an atmospheric river streaming across the Pacific to the central California coast.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — To get a better handle on the impacts of incoming “atmospheric rivers,” scientists are installing specialized new coastal observatories at Bodega Bay, Eureka, Pt. Sur and Goleta, California.

The coastal weather stations will measure low altitude winds and the amount of moisture moving ashore — key data that will help forecasters pinpoint how much precipitation is likely to fall during an atmospheric river event.

“California needs to know how and where it might rain or snow, when and where to expect flooding,” said Michael Anderson, Ph.D., state climatologist with the California Department of Water Resources. “The observatories will also help state officials and scientists monitor changes in atmospheric rivers associated with climate change.” Continue reading

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