Satellite image of cloud systems in the North Pacific
Satellite image of cloud systems in the North Pacific on 20 February 2017, taken by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. The tight arc of clouds stretching from Hawaii to California is a visible manifestation of an atmospheric river pouring moisture onto the western United States. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.
Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

The landfall temperature of atmospheric rivers (AR) determines whether they produce rain or snow, thus affecting snowpack-related water availability and flood risk. Gonzales et al. [2022] investigate a unique, yet understudied, aspect of atmospheric river lifecycles, namely their integrated and surface air temperature from origin through terminus.

They find that ARs originating over the subtropical Pacific near Hawaii are significantly warmer and moister at landfall than ARs originating in other locations in winter. The authors also show that more southerly origin latitudes, longer lifetimes (or more westerly origins), and stronger intensity of origin moisture transport are linked to warmer landfall temperatures.

Citation: Gonzales, K. R., Swain, D. L., Roop, H. A., & Diffenbaugh, N. S. (2022). Quantifying the Relationship Between Atmospheric River Origin Conditions and Landfall Temperature. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 127, e2022JD037284.

—Minghua Zhang, outgoing Editor in Chief, JGR: Atmospheres

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