Rivers in the sky

Atmospheric bands of water vapor can cause flooding and extreme weather

By Alexandra Witze, 09:55 AM February 10, 2011

Scientific conferences usually don’t physically experience their subjects. But during a session on “atmospheric rivers” last December at a geophysics meeting in San Francisco, one of those very rivers was barreling down on meeting attendees.

Like freight trains loaded with water vapor, atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands whose winds funnel huge amounts of moisture through the sky. When they hit coasts, these rivers can drop their moisture as rain and cause destructive flooding, as in...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/rivers-sky