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