CW3E Fieldwork Season Begins

CW3E Fieldwork Season Begins

January 10, 2018

A team of CW3E postdocs, students, staff, and collaborators headed to Northern California on Sunday, 7 January to begin the winter 2018 fieldwork campaign. Throughout this winter season, CW3E plans to release radiosondes, conduct stream surveys, and collect isotope samples. The campaign aims to continue efforts in understanding atmospheric rivers (ARs) and their impacts on the Russian River Watershed. In support of the Forecast Informed Reservoir Operation (FIRO), hydrometeorological data from the campaign will be used to enhance water resources and flood control operations.

The team is launching from two sites: a coastal site, the UC Davis Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory and an inland site in Ukiah, CA, southwest of Lake Mendocino. These launches are being shared with National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices in Eureka, Sacramento, and Monterey. Peak launches recorded 511 units integrated water vapor transport (IVT) at Bodega Bay (0000Z 9 January 2018) and 389 units IVT at Ukiah (2100Z 8 January 2018).

A radiosonde launch completed in Bodega Bay (0259Z 9 January 2018) shows a sounding with typical AR conditions.


Note: no orographic enhancement present (NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory)


The Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch (RAMMB) of NOAA/NESDIS and Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRCA)


Leah Campbell and Anna Wilson, Postdocs, prepare to release radiosondes from Bodega Bay


Photograph taken at the mouth of the Russian River after the storm.

Other members of the team have been working on stream installations and measurements, along with isotope sampling. Working with the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), CW3E has begun inventorying supplies to continue using the stream gauges that were installed during the previous fieldwork season. They have completed discharge measurements at five of the six streams where gauges are deployed, and will complete measurements at the remaining site today.

The team will continue collecting data and releasing radiosondes throughout this event with plans to return to sample ARs as they occur in the coming months. CW3E will also be partnering with NOAA and the U.S. Air Force, as part of the field campaign, for a series of Reconnaissance (Recon) flights into AR events. The AR Recon missions will start on 25 January, and continue through 28 February. In addition to the NOAA G-IV aircraft, flying out of Seattle for three storms, the campaign will also include two Air Force C-130s that will fly through a total of six storms, overlapping with the NOAA G-IV for three storms. These flights are a valuable method in improving the forecasting of AR conditions offshore and can provide enhanced prediction of AR landfall duration and intensity.

CW3E AR Update: 8 January 2018 Outlook

CW3E AR Update: 8 January 2018 Outlook

January 8, 2018

Click here for a pdf of this information.

AR conditions currently bringing precipitation to the U.S. West Coast

  • The majority of the U.S. West Coast is currently experiencing AR conditions (IVT >250 kg m-1 s-1 and IWV >20 mm) and precipitation associated with these conditions
  • These conditions could lead to precipitation over the majority of CA and southwest OR for the next 36 hours with accumulations up to 7 inches over CA
  • An AR is expected to make landfall over the Pacific Northwest on 10 January 2018 and could produce up to 6 inches of precipitation over the Cascade Mountains

Click IVT or IWV image to see loop of 0-120 hour GFS forecast

Valid 1200 UTC 8 January – 1200 UTC 13 January 2018

NEXRAD Radar Imagery

0000 UTC – 1800 UTC 8 January 2018

CNRFC Observed Precipitation

Raw Data: 0635 UTC – 1835 UTC 8 January 2018

  • Precipitation began over CA around 0400 UTC 8 January
  • As of 1835 UTC 8 January, up to 1.65 inches of precipitation has been observed over coastal CA


 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary provided by B. Kawzenuk, J. Kalansky, and F.M. Ralph; 11 AM PT Monday 8 January 2018

*Outlook products are considered experimental

CW3E AR Outlook: 14 December 2017 Ridge Update

CW3E AR Outlook: 14 December 2017 Ridge Update

December 14, 2017

Click here for a pdf of this information.

Dry Conditions Expected to Persist over CA for the Foreseeable Future

  • Persistent high pressure and ridging over the northeast Pacific and USWC is directing moisture transport towards AK and resulting in long periods of dry conditions over the USWC
  • The lack of precipitation over the southern USWC is increasing drought conditions and has resulted in the Northern Sierra 8-station index dropping below normal accumulations to date
  • While ridging is forecast to persist, AR conditions are currently forecast to impact the West Coast but the unfavorable north/northwesterly orientation of IVT will result in little or no precipitation over CA
  • Click IVT or IWV image to see loop of 0-180 hour GFS forecast

    Valid 1200 UTC 14 December – 0000 UTC 22 December 2017

    Click 500-hPa Geopotential Height & Vorticity image to see loop of 0-180 hour GFS forecast


     

     

     

     

     

     

    Summary provided by C. Hecht, J. Cordeira B. Kawzenuk, J. Kalansky, and F.M. Ralph; 1 PM PT Thursday 14 December 2017

    *Outlook products are considered experimental

CW3E Publication Notice: Flood runoff in relation to water vapor transport by atmospheric rivers over the western United States

CW3E Publication Notice

Flood runoff in relation to water vapor transport by atmospheric rivers over the western United States

December 1, 2017

CW3E long-time collaborator, Mike Dettinger, and USGS colleague, recently published a paper in Geophysical Research Letter titled: Flood runoff in relation to water vapor transport by atmospheric rivers over the western United States.

In the study they analyzed historical flood flows at over 5000 streamgages across the western US in relation to landfalling atmospheric-river storms. Specifically, they focused on the probabilities of floods flows occurring as conditioned by the presence of an atmospheric river and by the water vapor-transport rates in the atmospheric river. Through this analysis they were able to show that stronger the atmospheric river, the more likely are flood flows to develop.

Along the west coast, these peak flows coincide with atmospheric rivers about 80+% of the time, falling off to about 40-50% of the time in southern California, and falling off the farther inland the river basin (with notable regional anomalies, e.g., around Phoenix and in northern Idaho).

CW3E AR Update: 20 November 2017 Outlook

CW3E AR Update: 20 November 2017 Outlook and Summary

November 20, 2017

Click here for a pdf of this information.

A Potentially Extreme and Persistent AR is forecast to Impact the Pacific Northwest

  • A potentially extreme AR is forecast to impact the Pacific Northwest over the next 4 days
  • AR conditions could last over 50 hours in portions of Oregon and Northern California
  • As much as 15 inches of precipitation is forecast to fall over the Olympic Mountains over the next 5 days
  • Several rivers in Washington are currently forecast to rise above flood stage

Click IVT or IWV image to see loop of 0-180 hour GFS forecast

Valid 1200 UTC 20 November – 0000 UTC 28 November 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary provided by C. Hecht, B. Kawzenuk, J. Kalansky, and F.M. Ralph; 1 PM PT Friday 20 November 2017

*Outlook products are considered experimental

CW3E AR Update: 17 November 2017 Outlook and Summary

CW3E AR Update: 17 November 2017 Outlook and Summary

November 17, 2017

Click here for a pdf of this information.

Strong AR recently made landfall over northern California

  • The AR reached its strongest magnitude of ~750 kg m-1 s-1 at ~6 PM PST over northern California making this a strong AR
  • IWV values within the AR ranged from 34–40 mm during the event
  • A second AR is forecast to make landfall over the USWC between 19 and 21 November 2017
  • The AR is currently over Southern California bringing precipitation to the Los Angeles area
  • Another AR is forecast to impact the USWC in the next several days

SSMI/SSMIS/AMSR2-derived Integrated Water Vapor (IWV)

Valid 0000 UTC 15 November – 1600 UTC 17 November 2017

Images from CIMSS/Univ. of Wisconsin

Click IVT or IWV image to see loop of GFS Analysis

Valid 0000 UTC 15 November – 1200 UTC 17 November 2017


 

 

A potentially extreme AR is forecasted to make landfall over the U.S. West Coast next week

  • The current AR impacting Southern California is forecast to end by later tonight
  • Multiple systems are forecast to bring potentially strong to extreme and prolonged AR conditions to the USWC
  • As much as 19 inches of precipitation could fall over the Olympic Mountains over the next week
  • Multiple rivers in Washington are currently forecast to rise above flood stage

Click IVT or IWV image to see loop of 0-180 hour GFS forecast

Valid 1200 UTC 17 November – 0000 UTC 25 November 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary provided by C. Hecht, B. Kawzenuk, J. Kalansky, and F.M. Ralph; 3 PM PT Friday 17 November 2017

*Outlook products are considered experimental

CW3E AR Update: 8 November 2017 Outlook

CW3E AR Update: 8 November 2017 Outlook

November 8, 2017

Click here for a pdf of this information.

Two ARs Forecasted to Make Landfall over the U.S. West Coast in the Next Week

  • A strong AR is currently making landfall over the U.S. West Coast
  • This AR is expected to produce up to 6 inches of precipitation over northern CA
  • The southerly orientation of this AR will result in the heaviest precipitation over the north Central Valley
  • A second, moderate strength, AR is forecasted to make landfall over northern CA, OR, and WA on 12 November 2017
  • The second AR is expected to make landfall further north resulting in the highest precipitation over the Olympic and Cascade

Click IVT or IWV image to see loop of 0-168 hour GFS forecast

Valid 1200 UTC 8 November – 1200 UTC 15 November 2017


 

 

 

 

 

Summary provided by B. Kawzenuk, J. Kalansky, and F.M. Ralph; 12 PM PT Wednesday 8 November 2017

*Outlook products are considered experimental

Atmospheric Rivers Highlighted in the U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment

Atmospheric Rivers Highlighted in the U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment

November 6, 2017

Click here for a pdf of this information.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment, released last week, highlights atmospheric rivers as a key topic of its chapter on “Extreme Storms.” The other storm types addressed in this section are “tropical storms (hurricanes and typhoons),” “severe convective storms (thunderstorms)” and “winter storms.

The “Key findings” on atmospheric rivers are: “The frequency and severity of landfalling “atmospheric rivers” on the U.S. West Coast (narrow streams of moisture that account for 30%–40% of the typical snowpack and annual precipitation in the region and are associated with severe flooding events) will increase as a result of increasing evaporation and resulting higher atmospheric water vapor that occurs with increasing temperature. (Medium confidence).”

This major report further highlighted the atmospheric river topic by using a satellite image of an atmospheric river hitting the U.S. West Coast in February 2017 for the cover page of the entire report.


 

 

Contacts: Duane Waliser, F. Martin Ralph

CW3E AR Update: 3 November 2017 Outlook

CW3E AR Update: 3 November 2017 Outlook

November 3, 2017

Click here for a pdf of this information.

Two systems expected to produce precipitation over the U.S. West Coast in the next week

  • AR conditions (IVT >250 kg m-1 s-1 and IWV >20 mm) are expected over most of CA over the next four days
  • While AR conditions are forecast for some locations of the USWC, this event is not necessarily an AR due to geometric and spatial structure, but could produce up to 5 inches of precipitation and some snow over the Sierra Nevada
  • A potentially strong AR is expected to make landfall over CA, OR, and WA on 8 November 2017
  • The highest amounts of precipitation are expected over the coastal ranges of CA and OR
  • The AR is currently expected to have a southerly orientation which will result in less extreme precipitation

Click IVT or IWV image to see loop of 0-180 hour GFS forecast

Valid 1200 UTC 3 November – 0000 UTC 11 November 2017


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary provided by B. Kawzenuk, J. Kalansky, C. Hecht, and F.M. Ralph; 3 PM PT Friday 3 November 2017

*Outlook products are considered experimental