Climate Change: Strengthening Atmospheric Rivers

ABC10 –

Ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit next week, 10News is diving deeper into the affects of climate change. Climate change is leading to more dangerous and deadly wildfires and so often after fires scorch the ground in the fall, the heavy winter rains in atmospheric rivers lead to mudslides and flooding.

The scary reality is that these types of storms are going to get stronger. According to Alexander Gershunov, a research meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD, “we know for certain that atmospheric rivers are going to get stronger in the future, in a warmer atmosphere more water vapor can be held so atmospheric rivers are basically plumes of very intense concentrated moisture and they just going to get wetter as they get warmer. As those wetter atmospheric rivers hit the coast and coastal mountain ranges the moisture is squeezed out of them and we get more extreme precipitation events.”

He goes on to say, “climate change is definitely making atmospheric rivers warmer and wetter as well as longer and fatter so they carry more moisture. In the future they will produce even more of the precipitation extremes and be an even bigger contributor to the water resources of the region as well as to flooding.”

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