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Publication Date
13 April 2024

Atmospheric Rivers in the Eastern and Midwestern United States Associated With Baroclinic Waves



Atmospheric rivers (ARs) significantly impact the hydrological cycle and associated extremes in western continental regions. Recent studies suggest ARs also influence water resources and extremes in continental interiors. AR detection tools indicate that AR conditions are relatively frequent in areas east of the Rocky Mountains. The origin of these ARs, whether from synoptic‐scale waves or mesoscale processes, is unclear. This study uses meteorological composite maps and transects of AR conditions during the four seasons. The analysis reveals that ARs east of the Rockies are associated with long‐wave, baroclinic Rossby waves. This result demonstrates that eastern North American ARs are dynamically similar to their western coastal counterparts, though mechanisms for vertical moisture flux differ between the two. These findings provide a foundation for understanding future climate change and ARs in this region and offer new methods for evaluating climate model simulations.

O’Brien, Travis A., Burlen Loring, Amanda Sabatini Dufek, Mohammad Rubaiat Islam, Diya Kamnani, Kwesi Twentwewa Quagraine, and Cody Kirkpatrick. 2024. “Atmospheric Rivers In The Eastern And Midwestern United States Associated With Baroclinic Waves”. Geophysical Research Letters 51 (8). American Geophysical Union (AGU). doi:10.1029/2023gl107236.
Funding Program Area(s)
Additional Resources:
NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center)