The Potential Flow of an Atmospheric River

In 1862, California suffered a flood of Biblical proportions, powered by an atmospheric river from Hawaii. If the river of those proportions were to flow today, the damage could reach $725 billion.

similar extreme rain events have deluged in California seven times in the past 2,000 years–about once every 300 years. Great storms like the flood of 1862 will happen again. If the planet continues to warm, as expected, the odds of such an event will at least double by 2100, due to the extra moisture increased evaporation from the oceans will add to the air. A group of scientists, emergency managers, and policy makers gathered in Sacramento, California earlier this month to discuss how the state might respond to a repeat of the 1862 rain event–the ARkStorm Scenario. …  The team’s final report envisions the most expensive disaster in world history, with direct damages and loss of economic activity amounting to $725 billion. …

Jeffrey Mount, director of the Center for Integrated Watershed Science and Management at the University of California at Davis, said in a recent interview with MSNBC“The chances of a catastrophic flood occurring in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta sometime in the next 50 years are about two out of three.” He called Sacramento, which is only protected to a 1-in-80 year flood by its levees, “the most at-risk large metropolitan area in the country, with less than half the protection that New Orleans had.”

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground


This entry was posted in American History, Climate, Disasters, Earth Science, Economics, History, Oceanography, Science, Weather and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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