January 25, 2011

2010 AGU Fall Meeting – Atmospheric River Special Session

On 17 December 2010 a special session was held at American Geophysical Union's Fall meeting in San Francisco that focused on phenomenon of major importance to hydrometeorology of the west coast states, and that has been a focus of HMT-West research and prototyping, i.e., atmospheric rivers. Oral and poster presentations covered topics ranging from scientific findings regarding the structure and behavior of ARs, to understanding their role transporting water vapor to the Arctic, to how the AR concept has impacted NWS forecast operations on the U.S. West Coast, and to the roles of ARs from climate perspectives. Specific titles of the oral and poster presentations, along with the lead authors, are listed below. Institutions that presented results included Columbia University, Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science ETH Switzerland, National Weather Service, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USGS, UCLA, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, University of Colorado, and University of California at San Diego, NOAA/ESRL/Global Systems Division, California Department of Water Resources, NOAA/ESRL/Physical Sciences Division, International Research Insitute for Climate and Society (IRI), and others.

Concurrent with the special session, a general purpose Atmospheric Rivers Information Web Page was launched by NOAA's Physical Sciences Division, including a bibliography of formal journal articles focused on ARs published by the research community and an informal list of the "Top Ten" ARs that have been documented by these publications.

By coincidence, on the same day that the special session was held, a strong AR was approaching the San Francisco and other parts of the California coast. When the final presenter, Dave Reynolds, was asked for his forecast of the maximum storm total rainfall in the upcoming AR-related storms, he predicted 20 inches, with up to 30 inches, possible over the following 3-5 days. As described in a storm summary on the HMT web page, including descriptions of the forecasts and atmospheric river conditions, the maximum rainfall was over 26 inches, in Southern California's San Bernardino Mountains. Congratulations to Dave Reynolds and the NWS for this excellent forecast, and for the recent election of Dave Reynolds as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society!


Details of the Atmospheric Rivers Session

Initiation of Session

Call for Abstracts: Recent research has shown the importance of long filamentary bands of water vapor transport in the atmospheric water cycle. Characterizing and forecasting these features--called atmospheric rivers (AR) by Zhu and Newell (1998)—and their storm and flooding impacts are a grand challenge with many applications. Several observation and modeling programs are addressing ARs and their impacts in Pacific coast states, including field campaigns over land and ocean and in atmosphere, storm-warning observatories, AR/aerosols/water supply research, and storm-preparedness exercises. Results and prospects motivated by ARs (as well as other framings of midlatitude storm processes) are solicited.

Co-Chairs: Dr. Mike Dettinger (USGS and Scripps Inst. Of Oceanography), and Dr. Marty Ralph (NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory)

Session Title: Atmospheric Rivers: A Grand Challenge for Hydrometeorology, Flood, and Water Sciences I (A51F)

See abstracts at http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm10/fm10-sessions/fm10_A51F.html

Session Type: Oral

Duration: December 17, 2010 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Session Hosts: F Martin Ralph, Michael D Dettinger
Session Location: MW-3006 (Moscone West)

  • Oral 1: Landfalling impacts of atmospheric rivers: From extreme events to long-term consequences (Invited)
    Paul Neiman 8:00 AM - 8:15 AM
  • Oral 2: The role of individual cyclones for atmospheric latent and sensible heat transport into the European Arctic (Invited)
    Harald Sodemann 8:15 AM - 8:30 AM
  • Oral 3: The impact of atmospheric rivers on the cold season hydrology in California,
    Jinwon Kim 8:30 AM - 8:45 AM
  • Oral 4: WRF Ensemble Model performance during atmospheric river events in California (Invited)
    Edward Tollerud 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM
  • Oral 5: Tropical links to atmospheric rivers making landfall along the west coast of North America (Invited)
    George Kiladis 9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
  • Oral 6: Exploring oceanic source regions and moisture transport of extreme floods over large basins in the contiguous United States
    Upmanu Lall 9:15 AM - 9:30 AM
  • Oral 7: A 21st century observing system for forcings of extreme precipitation and flood events in California
    Allen White 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM
  • Oral 8: Understanding and forecasting atmospheric rivers (Invited)
    David Reynolds 9:45 AM - 10:00 AM

Session Title: Atmospheric Rivers: A Grand Challenge for Hydrometeorology, Flood, and Water Sciences II (A53B)

See abstracts at http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm10/fm10-sessions/fm10_A53B.html

Session Type: Poster

Duration: December 17, 2010 1:40 PM - 6:00 PM
Session Hosts: F Martin Ralph, Michael D Dettinger
Session Location: MS Poster Hall (Moscone South)

  • Poster 1: Evolution of Sierra Barrier Jets that occur simultaneously with atmospheric river events in a high resolution dynamical downscaling of the North American Regional Reanalysis, by Mimi Hughes et al.
  • Poster 2: Diagnosis of systematic errors in atmospheric river forecasts using satellite observations of Integrated Water Vapor, by Gary Wick et al.
  • Poster 3: The impact of atmospheric rivers on soil moisture in California’s Russian River Basin, by Robert Zamora et al.
  • Poster 4: GFS water vapor forecast error evaluated over the 2009-2010 West Coast cool season using the MET/MODE object analyses package, by Wallace Clark et al.
  • Poster 4: A study of storm tracks and the cold season precipitation characteristics in California using trajectory model, by Ju-Mee Ryoo et al.
  • Poster 5: W-band spaceborne radar observations of atmospheric river events, by Sergey Matrosov et al.
  • Poster 6: Improved characterization and monitoring of moisture associated with atmospheric rivers, by Seth Gutman et al.
  • Poster 7: A climatology of Atmospheric Rivers based on NCEP reanalysis and variability associated with ENSO, by Jesse Nusbaumer et al.
  • Poster 8: Does the Madden-Julian Oscillation influence the frequency and precipitation of wintertime atmospheric rivers in California? by Bin Guan et al.
  • Poster 9: Rapid response to the Howard Hanson Dam crisis, by Marty Ralph et al.
  • Poster 10: Diagnosing time scales of atmospheric moisture transport, by Matt Newman
  • Poster 11: Measurement of turbulent water vapor fluxes from lightweight unmanned aircraft systems, by Rick Thomas et al.
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