"Pineapple Express" Storms May Get Easier to Track
Climate scientists say drenching storms like the ones Northern California just weathered may become easier to track with a new network of “atmospheric river” observatories along the coast.
An atmospheric river, also known as a Pineapple Express, transports massive amounts of water from warmer latitudes in the ocean and dumps it onto us.
Hydrologist Mike Dettinger of the U.S. Geological Survey says the new observatories are important not only for weather prediction, but also flood management.
“Some 80 percent of the major floods on most of the rivers in Central and Northern California,” says Dettinger, “when we look back now, we can categorize the storms that caused those floods as atmospheric river storms.”
The observatories will be up and running this season. They're instrument clusters that measure water vapor, wind speed, and the altitude where snow turns into rain.
The first one will go up in Bodega Bay later this month.