California atmospheric river intensified, so that the billions of dollars flooding

Flood so that the extreme hit Northern California in late February 2019, a news photographer found a person Plan by the city garbage bins.

This type of common winter storm known as the great river streams, a powerful band of moisture(sometimes referred to as”rivers in the sky”), the flow in the Pacific Ocean into the Western United States, often dousing the state of California.

Atmospheric rivers can pack a devastating punch. New research published in the three magazines The progress of science Find the maximum of this winter phenomenon caused billions of dollars of flood disasters. And they’re getting worse.

“They become more intense with climate change,”said Tom Corringham, a post-doctoral research in the Economics of the SCRIPPS ocean research and lead author of the study.

Importantly, only a small increase in atmospheric river drive strength of the large increase in compensation. “We are seeing more superstorms, we will see a big impact on the economy,”Corringham said.

A key driver factors in more intense atmospheric rivers are the physics of a warmer Earth. “When we trap more heat, and more humid the atmosphere,”explained Corringham. “Now more moisture from rain and snow, we get more floods.”

In the flood particularly enlarged case has a strong atmospheric river, which provides a huge amount of water, many times the average flow of water through the huge mouth of the Mississippi River.

“You raise the ceiling on the precipitation potential,”said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research had no role in the new research. “The atmosphere of the river will be more intense, provide more water.”

“It’s not subtle.”

According to NASA, for every 1 degree Celsius(1.8 degrees Fahrenheit)of warming, air can hold 7% more water. “It’s not subtle,”says Swain. “The cumulative effect of global or regional warming is actually very dramatic.”

The second part of the story is when this enhanced rainfall striking the ground. In the flood immersed in the soil, but the soil can only absorb so much water. The rest of the water will inevitably collect on the surface. “That ended up being flooding,”said Paul Ullrich,a climate scientist at the University of California, Davis, who had no role in the new research.

Using 40 years of data from the National Flood Insurance Program(1978-2017),Corringham and his team found the atmosphere 11 river event, caused more than $ 1 billion in damages nine occurred since 1995.

Of course, not all atmospheric rivers are bad. Almost no. Low-intensity storms for the Gold country with rich water, to fill the state’s huge reservoir and raising the region’s famous produce of the farm. “We rely on them for our water,”notes Corringham.

“Some of the atmospheric rivers is very good, some are catastrophic,”said Ullrich. “Too many good things to itself.” (The 609 the atmosphere of the river observed over 40 years, 110 human 4 and 5 storms—the two highest levels of intensity.)

Corringham hope the future brings the worsening flood disasters to the climate enhanced the atmosphere of the river is a combination of the two kinds of population growth in the Western United States, and therefore, more and more development.

However, with today’s vastly improved and often good weather forecast, CA can also support for extreme storms and avoid some of the catastrophic flooding–specifically, when they fill the state of large-scale dams and reservoirs.

Recognizing that”more frequent and more extreme flood and drought are possible,”Federal and state agencies are now testing a way to release water from California’s reservoirs future of strong atmospheric rivers(or other weather event)is called forecasting, notify the storage activity, or FIRO. One of the main goals is to avoid an overflow or damage to the dam, similar to Olympic Dam(the highest dam in the U.S.)failure and near disaster in 2017. There is a flood, the dam of the channel the overflow, called spillway, crash.

“The storm may be higher than the dam can handle,”said Carey Talbot, chief flood and storm protection division at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and development center of marine and coastal hydraulics lab. Talbot is a co-author of the study.

“It provides us with additional space to handle the super big event,”Talbot added. “We can look forward to.”

Mudslides in Northern California last month 14, 2019.

Mudslides in Northern California last month 14, 2019.

Image: Michael Short/AP/snapshot

When a extreme, potentially the historic atmosphere of the river life, and almost certainly the chaos of the floods and mudslides, but at least the dam can be controlled.

In General, the total amount of annual rainfall in California is not expected to change much, but climate scientists project more intense downpours when it does rain. “Flood risk in the core of the rainy season a few months will probably go up a lot,”said Swain. “We expect the same amount of water, but coming in short bursts.”

“It is a reminder that weather and climate issues in a big way to our community,”says Corringham. “If we don’t act now to stabilize the global climate system, we may seriously damage our economy.”

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