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Rivers in the sky

Rivers in the sky

Yes, there are rivers in the sky!  Atmospheric rivers, to be exact, are narrow bands of moisture that regularly form above the Pacific Ocean and flow towards North America’s west coast, drenching it in rain and packing it with snow.   These rivers, which transport more water than the Amazon or the Mississippi, have a far-reaching impact - even on the food you may be eating today.

With this week’s  January 14 sailing of NOAA’s largest ship, the Ronald H. Brown, a major investigation of atmospheric rivers named CalWater 2015 is now underway.

January 16, 2015 0 Comments
Researchers offer new insights into predicting future droughts in California

Researchers offer new insights into predicting future droughts in California

According to a new NOAA-sponsored study, natural oceanic and atmospheric patterns are the primary drivers behind California's ongoing drought. A high pressure ridge off the West Coast (typical of historic droughts) prevailed for three winters, blocking important wet season storms, with ocean surface temperature patterns making such a ridge much more likely. Typically, the winter season in California provides the state with a majority of its annual snow and rainfall that replenish water supplies for communities and ecosystems.

December 8, 2014 0 Comments
Colorado report: climate change projected to reduce water in streams, increase water needs for crops, cities

Colorado report: climate change projected to reduce water in streams, increase water needs for crops, cities

Rising temperatures will tend to reduce the amount of water in many of Colorado’s streams and rivers, melt mountain snowpack earlier in the spring, and increase the water needed by thirsty crops and cities, according to the new report, “Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation,” which updates and expands upon an initial report released in 2008.

August 5, 2014 0 Comments
NOAA flies through atmospheric rivers off California coast

NOAA flies through atmospheric rivers off California coast

Scientists aboard the NOAA Gulfstream IV aircraft are flying over the Pacific Ocean off the U.S. West Coast this week to measure air pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction to help better understand atmospheric rivers - narrow conveyor belts of water vapor that can bring beneficial water supply and snowpack as well as create dangerous floods.

February 5, 2014 0 Comments
Rainwatch remote monitoring program helps West African nations adapt to seasonal swings in weather

Rainwatch remote monitoring program helps West African nations adapt to seasonal swings in weather

Knowing when, where and what to grow or graze animals can be the difference between a bumper harvest and facing starvation.  Rainwatch provides monsoon rainfall data in real time from monitoring stations and tracks the key seasonal attributes important for food production. 

August 28, 2013 0 Comments
NOAA-led report: 2012 Central Great Plains 'flash drought' a result of natural variations in weather

NOAA-led report: 2012 Central Great Plains 'flash drought' a result of natural variations in weather

A new report by the NOAA Drought Task Force finds natural variations in weather patterns caused the 2012 Great Plains drought and rules out global ocean conditions, as well as human-induced climate change, as major culprits.
April 11, 2013 0 Comments
Texas heat wave of 2011 largely caused by drought, ocean temperatures, says NOAA-led study

Texas heat wave of 2011 largely caused by drought, ocean temperatures, says NOAA-led study

A new NOAA study finds that La Niña-related sea-surface temperature conditions were the most important factor leading to the drying out in Texas and the U.S. Southern Plains last year.
November 15, 2012 0 Comments
New NOAA study suggests Great Plains may not suffer semi-permanent Dust Bowl as climate changes

New NOAA study suggests Great Plains may not suffer semi-permanent Dust Bowl as climate changes

A new NOAA study explores the reasons behind diverging views on future Great Plains drought. The good news is that it will probably not be as dire as some earlier studies suggest.

October 25, 2012 0 Comments
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