Atmospheric Rivers Fuel Most Western U.S. Flooding. Climate Change Will Make Them Worse.

InsideClimate News | Dec 4, 2019 at 7:00 PM
  • Giant streams of moist air that curl off from the tropics are responsible for most of the flooding in the Western United States, and scientists say these atmospheric rivers will become more intense as the planet warms.
  • Atmospheric rivers are powerful streams that carry huge amounts of water vapor from the tropics to Earth’s continents and polar regions.
  • Warming oceans release more moisture to the air, and a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, carried along by atmospheric rivers until it hits land and releases the water vapor as rain or snow.