Mar 28, 2016

Hydrometeorological characteristics of rain‐on‐snow events associated with atmospheric rivers

by
Guan, Bin, Waliser, Duane E., Ralph, F. Martin, Fetzer, Eric J., Neiman, Paul J.
,
Geophysical Research Letters

In California, atmospheric rivers tend to be the warmest winter storms we get. We wanted to understand what the connection was between these storms and rain-on-snow events.

Bin Guan, study lead author affiliated with the Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, a collaboration between NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and UCLA


  • States that rain-on-snow (ROS) events during ARs present enhanced flood risks due to the combined effects of rainfall and snowmelt
  • Identifies ROS occurrences and their connection with ARs during the 1998–2014 winters, focusing on California's Sierra Nevada
  • Finds that in California's Sierra Nevada, atmospheric river storms are two-and-a-half times more likely than other types of winter storms to result in destructive “rain-on-snow” (ROS) events, where rain falls on existing snowpack, causing it to melt