Atmospheric River deluges California and the Southwest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:25 PM GMT on December 22, 2010

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An “Atmospheric River” of extremely moist air continues to affect the Southwest U.S. today, and flooding rains of 1 – 2” with isolated amounts of 2 – 4” can be expected across Southern California, western and central Arizona, southeastern Nevada, and southwestern Utah. The heaviest rains will fall over the coastal mountains south of Los Angeles. The storm began on Friday night, and has brought some rather remarkable rains and snows to the Southwest. Crestline, California, in the mountains just east of Los Angeles, has received 20.05” of rain since Friday. The Sierra Mountains near Sequoia National Park received an astonishing 17 feet of snow at Pescoes since Friday night. Other heavy snow amounts from the storm include 6.4' at Heavenly near Lake Tahoe, 6.5' in Crested Butte, Colorado, and 9 – 13.5' in Mammoth in the Sierras. Some other rainfall amounts from NOAA's latest Storm Summary:

...ARIZONA...
Iron Spring 11.14"
Black Rock 9.23"
Kingman 3.86"
Grand Canyon West 3.15"

...CALIFORNIA...
Crestline 20.05"
Nature Point 18.60"
Tanback 16.94"
Mammoth Lakes 12.82"
Santa Barbara 12.39"
Los Angeles-USC 6.66"
San Diego 4.22"
San Francisco Airport 2.44"

...NEVADA...
Mount Charleston 12.66"
Las Vegas, 24 miles WNW 8.99"
Reno 2.59"

...UTAH...
Gutz Peak 15.90"
Little Grassy 15.10"
Zion National Park 6.76"


Figure 1. The total amount of rainfall one could get if all the moisture in the air were condensed and fell out as rain is called the Total Precipitable Water (TPW). Here, TPW values from microwave satellite measurements are plotted, and show a plume of very moist air connecting the subtropics near Hawaii with Southern California. TPW vales in excess of 20 mm (about 0.8 inches, blue and warmer colors) are often associated with heavy rainfall events capable of causing flooding. Image credit: University of Wisconsin CIMSS.

“Atmospheric Rivers” was a term coined in the 1990s to describe plumes of moisture that ride up out of the subtropics into the mid-latitudes along the axis of a cold front. Traditional water vapor satellite imagery does not show these plumes very well, and it was only when microwave satellite imagery from polar orbiting satellites became available in the late 1990s that the full importance of these Atmospheric Rivers came to be revealed. Atmospheric Rivers account for a significant portion of California's cold season rainfall and snowfall, and an entire session was devoted to them at last week's American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, the world's largest Earth Science meeting.

Jeff Masters

High water/flooding (meto234)
The Virgin and Santa Clara rivers are topping out at flood stage at St. George, Utah. Been raining for 3 days and more on the way.
High water/flooding
Desert Rainbow (multex)
desert rainbow
Desert Rainbow
None Shall Pass (DancinPants)
That right there between me and the guy on the far side is the road....and the only one that, as far as I'm aware leads out of Pamo Valley. So he might be stuck there. I drove across there just yesterday!
None Shall Pass

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It seems that Crichton was a bit of a nut. Wikipedia:

At Harvard he developed the belief that all diseases, including heart attacks, are direct effects of a patient's state of mind. He later wrote: "We cause our diseases. We are directly responsible for any illness that happens to us."[11] Eventually he came to believe in auras, spoon bending, and clairvoyance.[11]

The reference [11] is to Crichton's book Travels.
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Groth.... I'm currently in my Hello Kitty raft, floating out to sea....
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somewhere on the site is a review Jeff Masters did of the Crichton book
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
Quoting Jeff9614:
OMG Blizzard for FL this weekend and I just read 95L is headed for C-FL! Oh ****!!!!
not the real Jeff either.. i should know because i have the real one on ignore too, unfortunately.

this is pitiful!
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232. Inyo
Quoting cat5hurricane:

What about Al Gore's book regarding climate change? Most folks who believe in AWG loved it I'm sure.


Well, Al Gore's book was well meaning if flawed. Crichton launched a deliberate attack on science and on sound environmental management/policy. i'm still confused as to why he did it - if he was paid off or just got a bit weird in his later days. One of the big themes of Jurassic Park was that nature is big, and chaotic, and can mess us up if we don't respect it. 'State of Fear' was a 180 degree turn from that.

Anyway I am getting off topic so...

It's snowing in Burlington, Vermont, and we've already had more than forecast. Looks like we'll come away with several new inches of snow by tomorrow morning.
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:
MinneMike, calusakat is simply a scornographer. Nothing more.

i am aware, but whenever he/she thinks it's fine to post such entries as if in a vacuum, i'm going to be here demanding accountability, and with the reminder that while most have written Calusakat off, the blogger is not in a vacuum.
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Quoting NRAamy:
Grothar.... the question is what DIDN'T you do.....

;)


I always do everything once, twice if I like it, and 3 times just to make sure. LOL How are your Sierra Madres doing?
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"One other item about this event , it was very warm . Snow levels to 9,000 ft at times. "
Another reason they call it the pineapple express, I guess.
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228. Inyo
Quoting bappit:

One guess is that more money is being spent to promote the AGW-is-a-scam view than by those promoting the AGW-is-legit view. I also think Michael Crichton's book was influential.


That book was horrible though. Seriously. I'm so glad it wasn't a pro-global-warming book. The premise was so ridiculous! If ELF could control the weather, they wouldn't bother creating flash floods in little campgrounds. They'd start controlling storms over farmland and soon control anything and everything they wanted to. Each character was so horribly preachy too. It's too bad. Jurassic Park was a really fun book and misrepresenting the size of velociraptors didn't really cause any policy changes (though maybe it should? I hear too little talk about the velociraptor danger)
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Wow, large scale view of satellite and you can see the central US and SE is in the calm right now, West coast getting pounded, while the super low out over the Atlantic is taking up the ocean. I'd say the east coast and SE are sitting ducks waiting for their turn of action.
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Also FYI, check out the feature south of Jamaica in the Carribbean.
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224. flsky
Quoting Patrap:
Sneaux is of the Devil.


I second that!
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One other item about this event , it was very warm . Snow levels to 9,000 ft at times.


Dec 21 -
New highs vs new lows
Day - 57 to 1
Night - 70 to 0

Dec 20 -
New highs vs new lows
Day - 30 to 4
Night - 129 to 0

Dec 19 -
New highs vs new lows
Day - 8 to 8
Night - 115 to 2

Dec 18 -
New highs vs new lows
Day - 2 to 2
Night - 53 to 4

Dec 17 -
New highs vs new lows
Day - 4 to 18
Night - 19 to 13

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records.php?ts=daily&elem=mint&month=12&day=17&year=2010&sts[]=US &submitted=Get+Records#recs
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Quoting Inyo:
Honest question for non-agw people who believe AGW is a hoax created to make money:

It seems to me like a lot more money is to be made in continuing to sell oil and coal, than to practice conservation and conversion to new fuel types.

That being said, why do so many people think anthropomorphic global warming is a 'scam' created to make someone rich, but the anti-global warming position ISNT?

Honest question!

One guess is that more money is being spent to promote the AGW-is-a-scam view than by those promoting the AGW-is-legit view. I also think Michael Crichton's book was influential.
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Our player is coming ashore in Southern California, looks organized and gonna bring havoc later this week...
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216. Inyo
Quoting bappit:

That's playing games with the word "cause" which is easy to do. Aristotle had four causes: efficient, final, material and formal. Using this terminology, the sun is a material cause. Burning fossil fuels is an efficient cause.

Any guesses on what the formal and final causes might be? Or claimed to be?


Yep, it;s true. Humans don't compare with the sun in our influence. The climate is a complex system, though. Tossing a pebble in a large river could end up causing the river to shift course 100 miles away. We're sitting here tossing pebbles. Maybe it won't do anything, but there are signs it is.
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213. Inyo
Anyone who has seen the Sierras from the east (aka Inyo county!) knows that the range really is a distinct, saw-toothed ridge rather than a line of discrete peaks like some of the Rockies are. The Sierras (or whatever you want to call them) are a very new mountain range of erosion-resistant granite so you can easily make out that the whole thing is an up-thrusted block of rock. A quite beautiful one, though :)
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#181
Howdy Barefoot!
Was just checking the charts, darn it, looks like more a rain than snow dusting event for your Christmas, like mine... Oh well, sooner or later... ;) back atcha!
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Quoting Inyo:


I totally agree with you. My point was more addressed to the idea that 'well, the sun is causing warming, so humans definitely aren't

That's playing games with the word "cause" which is easy to do. Aristotle had four causes: efficient, final, material and formal. Using this terminology, the sun is a material cause. Burning fossil fuels is an efficient cause.

Any guesses on what the formal and final causes might be? Or claimed to be?
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207. Inyo
Honest question for non-agw people who believe AGW is a hoax created to make money:

It seems to me like a lot more money is to be made in continuing to sell oil and coal, than to practice conservation and conversion to new fuel types.

That being said, why do so many people think anthropomorphic global warming is a 'scam' created to make someone rich, but the anti-global warming position ISNT?

Honest question!
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Cool, I started a discussion. So the Sierra Madre are the Mother Saws?
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Ive seen that kinda thing before here a few years ago. Someone has an Axe to grind and they think doing so by being racist is funny.
Imagine the poor soul all alone, with nothing to do all day, no life.
Member Since: June 21, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 1657
Quoting Grothar:


What did I do now?


You did just about everything LOL
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Grothar.... the question is what DIDN'T you do.....

;)
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Calusakat, you have a lot of insinuations to answer for, and a lot of claims to prove. i am still waiting... what page will you turn to in your handbook.. oh wait, it's only one page long.
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I've lived here my whole life, and have always called them the Sierra Nevadas....

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Quoting Patrap:
One has the controls to block or ignore any post.

Use them together,use them in Peace

ALL THESE BLOGS ARE YOURS EXCEPT GROTHARS..
ATTEMPT NO BLOGGING THERE


What did I do now?
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Quoting calusakat:


Grin...

Go back and look at some of my previous comments and you will see that I am a GREENIE through and through.

from earlier Finally, using you bookkeeping skills, you should be able to see what drives investing. Then we will talk about the rest of the story regarding how AGW is about money.

investing in what, the Green economy? you are all for that.

funding of science is not investing. investing funds are for generating profit. profits are dollars. the government does not get profit for granting funds for research. the personnel performing the research do not get profit either. they get a salary, and those salaries are not going to get anyone in the top tier tax bracket anytime soon.

Quoting calusakat:
Obviously you haven't finished reading the material and understanding it.
No worry, I'll wait until you do.


i responded to your next entry as i would have were i around. so tell me. show me. prove it to me just like it's been proven to you that the climate research results are a hoax designed to get money money money for the scientists performing the research and generating data.

the only single thing i saw you bring up was East Anglia bs. your inability to comprehend that episode is nothing i can affect, so i'll let that stand as your sole evidence. yet, that episode actually has ZERO correlation to your proof, or utter lack thereof, that AGW is all about the money.

futhrmore, i also noticed you had the audacity to attempt to singlehandedly, in one night, combat years of rigorous scientific research by groups of professionals who contributed to the science that was presented by Shimon Wdowinsky, feature of Dr. M's topic. your entire argument was that they are wrong based on the volume of water released by the tropical storms being minuscule in comparison to the weight and density of rock. however, it was about the SEDIMENT LOSS and REDISTRIBUTION! your entire basis for comparison and argument was flawed from the top down. THIS is a prime example of your foul disrespect and contempt for hard working scientists and the rigors of serious research.

keep up your shameful tirade so we may continue to see what motivates YOU.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
167. JFLORlDA 8:02 PM GMT on December 22, 2010 Hide this comment.
Action: Quote | Ignore User
Member Since: December 21, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 16

Yes thats a troll - not me. note the join dates.

Looks like someone couldn't handle the truth and had to resort to smear tactics.
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194. Inyo
Quoting tuckernpurrs:
Not to be a nit-picker (okay, I guess I am) but "Sierra" means "mountain" They are either the Sierra Nevada or the Nevada Mountains. (Kind of like misplaced apostrophes -- it gets on my nerves.)


Lived in California 30 years and never heard anyone call them the 'nevada mountains' and probably never will. 'The Sierras' may just mean 'The Mountains but since these are by far the biggest/most extensive mountains in California, I don't see a problem with using the term. Otherwise, 'Sierra Nevada' means either 'snowy, saw-toothed mountain ridge' or 'highly overrated pale ale'.
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Doc-amen to your last statement.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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