Atmospheric Rivers and Flooding over the Central United States

Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) are regions of enhanced water vapor movement in the lower atmosphere. They occur when circulation in storms creates water vapor in the atmosphere to form a river-like flow pattern of moisture. Improved monitoring and understanding of AR conditions could help researchers better understand intense rain events and flooding. In this paper, researchers examined the relationship between atmospheric rivers and flooding over the central United States from 1979-2011 and found that a large number of annual maximum flood events over the central United States are associated with ARs.

Lavers, D.A. and G. Villarini. “Atmospheric Rivers and Flooding over the Central United States,” Journal of Climate, 26, 12, pp. 7829–7836, 2013.