Atmospheric rivers wreak havoc around the globe: research

Atmospheric rivers wreak havoc around the globe: research

Massive “atmospheric rivers” are responsible for nearly 75 per cent of all extreme winds and rainfalls on the world’s coasts, and roughly 50 per cent of the extreme wind gusts recorded in the past two decades, a new research revealed.

The strange phenomenon of atmospheric rivers can be described as narrow corridors of heavily concentrated moisture suspended in Earth’s atmosphere, which contain up to 15 times more water than the amount of water flowing through the gigantic Mississippi River.

The so-called atmospheric rivers soaked California this winter, and played a crucial role in ending the state’s epic drought. However, a team of scientists led by atmospheric scientist Duane Waliser, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, found in a new study that atmospheric rivers are among some of the most destructive weather systems.

All of Britain’s 10 biggest floods since the 1970s were caused by atmospheric rivers. Late last year, scientists linked the strange phenomenon to the first ever mass die-off event, when almost all wild oysters in northern S.F. Bay mysteriously died in 2011.

The scientists also linked atmospheric rivers to up to 65 per cent of the extreme rain and snow events in the Western U.S., and estimated that the phenomenon could also be the cause of nearly 80 per cent of massive floods in California.


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