Atmospheric Rivers “Double-Edged Sword” for Water in California

Atmospheric rivers are becoming a “double-edged sword” for California, an expert has told Newsweek.

The weather phenomenon involves concentrated corridors of tropical moisture that travel through the atmosphere. When they make landfall, they unleash heavy rain and snow in higher areas.

California has experienced many in recent weeks, with a series of atmospheric rivers bringing floods and landslides across the state, and another causing a severe blizzard across the Sierra Nevada. Storms caused by the phenomenon also swept across the state at the beginning of 2023 and into spring.

While precipitation is a good thing for the usually dry state, it also has negative consequences, Breanna Zavadoff, an assistant scientist at the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, told Newsweek.


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