Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2018


Atmospheric Rivers (AR) are moisture phenomena related to cyclones which bring moisture and large amounts of precipitation to areas of enhanced elevation along coastal areas. These events bring much of the rain received by the state of California, and the past winter was no exception, as many AR events brought much-needed rain to the region. Four different events from the 2016 fall through 2017 spring seasons are examined to better identify the relative roles of long-range moisture transport versus local moisture fluxes in AR events. Cross-sections of areas and times of interest during each event are generated, along with trajectory analyses which will aid in determining the origin of the moisture being moved. Both the cross-sections and trajectory analyses are taken from the CFSR (Climate Forecast System Reanalysis) model. It is expected that the results of these processes will support the findings of Dacre et al. (2015), which show that the moisture anomaly present during AR events is not actually due to moisture transport directly along the AR. Rather, the AR is the result of moisture convergence from a combination of the warm conveyor belt forcing the ascent of moisture over the warm front and the trailing cold front forcing ascent as it moves eastward. The importance of this research is evident on the US West Coast, as water conservation in this naturally dry region is extremely important to the ever-expanding cities and communities present there and requires long-term planning, which is aided by our increased understanding of AR events.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Isaac Arseneau is a third year student at Valparaiso University, and is studying Meteorology along with math and computer science.

Dr. Wendell Nuss is a professor and chair of the Department of Meteorology at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He served as the adviser to this project.