Atmospheric Rivers and Climate Change, the Settled, the Unsettled, and the Unsettling

Mimi Hughes


Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023, 2:00 pm
DSRC Room 2A305


GoTo Meeting
Or by phone: (US)+1 571-317-3129 | Access Code 343-392-437


Because of their relevance to water resources and flooding, ecosystems, and economy of the Western United States, the impact of climate change on Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) is highly societally relevant. In this talk, I review the recent literature on atmospheric rivers and how they may change under anthropogenic climate change conditions, focusing the findings into two categories: those that are largely ‘settled’, i.e., whose changes are fairly consistent in sign across studies regardless of methods, and those that are ‘unsettled’. ‘Settled’ changes include a general increase in AR-related integrated water vapor transport, probable shifts in the seasonality of precipitation, and likely increases in extreme AR precipitation. ‘Unsettled’ (or at least less ‘settled’) aspects include climate change’s impacts on AR winds, changes in AR frequency including how their frequency depends on their intensity, and changes in regional seasonal-total precipitation. I close the talk with a discussion of the unsettling implications given the combination of likely changes.

Seminar Contact: