CW3E Participates in the UP Summit at UC San Diego

CW3E Participates in the UP Summit at UC San Diego

May 20, 2018

CW3E participated in the inaugural UP Summit on May 17, to inspire a dialogue about how UC San Diego researchers are contributing to find solutions to environmental challenges.

This research to understand and protect the planet is a cornerstone of UC San Diego’s strategic research themes identified during the university’s strategic planning process in 2014. This plan identified where UC San Diego has the best experience and most potential for positively impacting society and the environment.

The invite-only audience at the UP Summit was comprised of a group that can take this research and turn it into action—political leaders, elected officials, agency and tribal representatives, non-profit partners and philanthropic supporters.

The summit featured two panel discussions on key issues affecting Southern California. The first was moderated by Mark Merrifield (Picture 1), director of the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and addressed extreme weather and atmospheric rivers, which can bring most of California’s water supply in only a few weather events a year, and pollution transport via the oceans and atmosphere. The panelists—coastal oceanographer Sarah Giddings, atmospheric chemist Kim Prather, and project scientist Aneesh Submaranian of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes—spoke on how their research is interconnected, and where more research needs to be done to understand complex problems.

Anna Wilson (Picture 2) and Douglas Alden also participated, hosting a table with a weather balloon (radiosonde) and other observational equipment. They talked to attendees about the types of observations that CW3E makes to improve understanding of California’s highly variable precipitation, particularly as applied to atmospheric rivers, and impacts on water supply and flooding.

According to event organizers, the goal of this summit was not just to show off the work that was done, but to foster a dialogue between the researchers and the policy makers. The approximately 100 attendees were given opportunities to network and converse throughout the event. The hope is that by learning more about what the science is capable of and what the community needs are, more solutions can be put into action to protect the planet for future generations.

More information about the summit can be found at thisweek@ucsandiego

CW3E Director Featured in the Water Zone Podcast on KCAA San Bernardino

CW3E Director Featured in the Water Zone Podcast on KCAA San Bernardino

April 25, 2018

The Water Zone is a KCAA (Loma Linda, CA) radio show, hosted by Paul McFadden, that explores water issues in agriculture and farming from various perspectives to advance water conservation. The April 19, 2018 episode featured two notable guests: Dr. F. Martin Ralph, CW3E Director, and Dr. Thomas Philp, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who is the executive strategist for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Follow the link to listen: Information related to western weather and water can be heard during minutes 11-44 of the episode.

CW3E Releases New Interactive Geospatial Observation and Forecast Maps

CW3E Releases New Interactive Geospatial Observation and Forecast Maps

Spetember 18, 2017

CW3E has released a new interactive mapping tool that takes advantage of “web mapping services”, GIS-based coding/thinking, and interactive technologies in order to provide dynamic weather analysis graphics in support of the CW3E mission. These interactive maps allow the user to display and interact with numerous variables from a synoptic to a watershed scale with the goal of providing insight into potential impacts of landfalling atmospheric rivers over California.

This interactive tool was developed as a means to geospatially visualize meteorological and hydrologic observations on a new platform and from a new perspective. This first set of maps/webpages illustrate the utility of the tool in displaying atmospheric river related forecast products and CW3E will continue to build upon the tool. As we continue to experiment in improving and expanding the tool, we encourage any feedback or suggestions. Please contact the website creator or the CW3E Webmaster with any questions or feedback you may have.

The development of the tool and maps/webpage is supported by the California Department of Water Resources. The page was created and developed by CW3E collaborator Dr. Jason Cordeira and CW3E Director Dr. F. Martin Ralph with input from CW3E researchers Brian Kawzenuk, Chad Hecht, and Dr. Julie Kalansky.

Click here to view the new interactive geospatial observation and forecast maps.

Publication Notice: CalWater Field Studies Designed to Quantify the Roles of Atmospheric Rivers and Aerosols in Modulating U.S. West Coast Precipitation in a Changing Climate

CW3E Publication Notice

CalWater Field Studies Designed to Quantify the Roles of Atmospheric Rivers and Aerosols in Modulating U.S. West Coast Precipitation in a Changing Climate

November 28, 2016

Ralph F.M., K. A. Prather, D. Cayan, J.R. Spackman, P. DeMott, M. Dettinger, C. Fairall, R. Leung, D. Rosenfeld, S. Rutledge, D. Waliser, A. B. White, J. Cordeira, A. Martin, J. Helly, and J. Intrieri, 2016: CalWater Field Studies Designed to Quantify the Roles of Atmospheric Rivers and Aerosols in Modulating U.S. West Coast Precipitation in a Changing Climate. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 97, yyy-zzz. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00043.1.

This paper summarizes the 8-year-long CalWater program of field studies, from planning to field operations and analysis efforts. It also summarizes the major motivations for the program as well as science gaps addressed, and serves as the standard reference for future CalWater analysis papers.

Contact: F. Martin Ralph (


Quantifying the roles of atmospheric rivers and aerosols in modulating U.S. West Coast precipitation, water supply, flood risks and drought in a changing climate.

The variability of precipitation and water supply along the U.S. West Coast creates major challenges to the region’s economy and environment, as evidenced by the recent California drought. This variability is strongly influenced by atmospheric rivers (AR), which deliver much of the precipitation along the U.S. West Coast and can cause flooding, and by aerosols (from local sources and transported from remote continents and oceans) that modulate clouds and precipitation. A better understanding of these processes is needed to reduce uncertainties in weather predictions and climate projections of droughts and floods, both now and under changing climate conditions.

To address these gaps a group of meteorologists, hydrologists, climate scientists, atmospheric chemists, and oceanographers have created an interdisciplinary research effort, with support from multiple agencies. From 2009-2011 a series of field campaigns (CalWater 1) collected atmospheric chemistry, cloud microphysics and meteorological measurements in California and associated modeling and diagnostic studies were carried out. Based on remaining gaps, a vision was developed to extend these studies offshore over the Eastern North Pacific and to enhance land-based measurements from 2014-2018 (CalWater 2). The data set and selected results from CalWater 1 are summarized here. The goals of CalWater-2, and measurements to date, are then described.

CalWater is producing new findings and exploring new technologies to evaluate and improve global climate models and their regional performance and to develop tools supporting water and hydropower management. These advances also have potential to enhance hazard mitigation by improving near-term weather prediction and subseasonal and seasonal outlooks.

The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang features CW3E and Atmospheric River Field Mission

The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang features CW3E and Atmospheric River Field Mission

February 18, 2016

The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang today (18 February 2016) featured the current observing missions happening over the eastern Pacific as coordinated by CW3E director Dr. F. Martin Ralph. Current missions are starting from Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and include some 800-mile transects. Critical information about water vapor distribution and winds are gathered during these flights and are used as initial conditions in global forecast models. The article highlights several quotes from CW3E director Ralph including the importance of pin-pointing the landfall of an Atmospheric River. Regarding forecast uncertainty: “Where it hits is off by an average of plus or minus 500 kilometers,” Ralph said. “An atmospheric river is 500 kilometers wide, so the error can mean the difference of whether you’re hit or not.”

Find the full article at The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang page: here.

State-of-the-art WC-130J aircraft for weather reconnaissance missions. The aircraft is a C-130J transport configured with palletized weather instrumentation for penetration of tropical disturbances and storms, hurricanes and winter storms to obtain data on movement, size and intensity.The WC-130J carries a minimal crew of five: pilot, co-pilot, navigator, aerial reconnaissance weather officer and weather reconnaissance loadmaster. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Labadens)