Meteorology

High winds add to extreme deluges

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
542,
Page:
395
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/542395e
Published online

Narrow bands of water vapour that typically travel over the ocean and dump huge volumes of rain on land, often causing flooding and landslides, come with another hazard — extreme wind.

Duane Waliser of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Bin Guan of the University of California, Los Angeles compared global data on these 'atmospheric rivers' with data on wind and precipitation extremes between 1997 and 2014. They found that across most mid-latitude regions, up to half of the most extreme wind and rain storms were associated with atmospheric rivers. The majority of damaging wind storms in Europe between 1997 and 2013 were also linked to these bands of vapour.

The typical wind speed associated with a land-falling atmospheric river was at least double the average for all storm types.

Nature Geosci. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2894 (2017)

Additional data