Extreme Atmospheric River Incidents are the Subject of Committee Hearing in California State Assembly

February 6, 2023

At a February 1 Joint Hearing of the State Assembly’s Committees on Emergency Management; Water, Parks, and Wildlife; and Utilities and Energy, CW3E Director F. Martin “Marty” Ralph was one of three speakers who briefed committee members on the latest research on predicting and forecasting the impact of atmospheric rivers. Dr. Ralph referenced CW3E’s AR Scale to demonstrate how the catastrophic impact of an atmospheric river incident increases exponentially for the highest ranked (4 and 5) incidents. Knowing when and where torrents of rain will strike can therefore save property and lives. Weather modeling innovations and ongoing research at CW3E, he noted, continue to improve the skill with which atmospheric rivers can be predicted. CW3E’s “West-WRF” forecast model, for example, is tailored to be the best forecast model for atmospheric rivers.

California’s State Climatologist, Dr. Michael Anderson, and Dr. Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA’s Institute of Climate and Sustainability also addressed the prediction and forecasting of extreme atmospheric river incidents.