What is an atmospheric river? With flooding and mudslides in California, a hydrologist explains the good and bad of these storms and how they’re changing

Atmospheric rivers occur all over the world, forming narrow channels of intense moisture transport in the sky. They start over warm water, typically tropical oceans, and are guided toward the coast by low-level jet streams ahead of cold fronts of extratropical cyclones. Along California, the Pacific Ocean serves as the reservoir of moisture for the storm, and the mountain ranges act as barriers, producing rain and snow on the western sides of the coastal ranges and Sierra Nevada. Warmer air holds more moisture, as global temperatures rise in the future, we can expect more intense atmospheric rivers, leading to increased heavy and extreme precipitation events. Learn more about how Atmospheric Rivers shape the hydrology of California past and future in this article: https://theconversation.com/what-is-an-atmospheric-river-with-flooding-and-mudslides-in-california-a-hydrologist-explains-the-good-and-bad-of-these-storms-and-how-theyre-changing-222249 by hydrologist, Qian Cao, published in The Conversation website.