Photo Essay: Traveling the Sierras

You can see the effects of a rain shadow as you drive through a mountain range. Heading west on I-80, you can see the changes in vegetation across the Sierra Nevada Mountains: Photos taken by Zoey Rosen on the drive from Reno, NV to Auburn, CA.


What is the connection between an atmospheric river and the pineapple express?

An atmospheric river is a long, narrow plume of moisture that travels from the ocean over the land. They are one source of heavy precipitation during the winter months on the west coast of the US. Check out this video on atmospheric rivers for a cool visual: Atmospheric River Animation; January 2017 (Credit: NOAA/ESRL/PSD) So … Continue reading What is the connection between an atmospheric river and the pineapple express?

Remember When?

Remember those intense snow storms in the Sierra Nevada at the beginning of this year? These were fed by atmospheric rivers--long, thin plumes of moisture at the upper level of the atmosphere that can bring a lot of water vapor inland. Check out this video from CIMSS, shared by the Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC), … Continue reading Remember When?


Click below to see a very cool infographic that was put together by Zoey Rosen. Find out more in our post on Why care about rain shadows? 


Lift. Fall. Move.

Why Care About Rain Shadows?

You’ve stumbled across this blog all about what makes rain shadows and how they are linked to atmospheric rivers. Here, we explain what a rain shadow is, and at the end of the post, you might even be able to answer the question “why care?”  Any geographical region will have prevailing wind patterns, which are … Continue reading Why Care About Rain Shadows?


Thirsty for more?

Did you just discover that you have an insatiable desire to learn more about atmospheric rivers? These resources are a good jumping-off point for anyone with a budding atmospheric river fetish.


Say what? Advancing and communicating rain shadow science

If you live on the west coast,  winter of 2017 may have ushered a new phrase into your vocabulary: atmospheric river. We are scientists who eat, sleep, and play in the mountains, and our work at the Desert Research Institute is advancing the field of rain shadow science as fast as you can say 'barrier … Continue reading Say what? Advancing and communicating rain shadow science