California has been experiencing a drought since 2012, but the first months of 2017 have brought some relief in the form of torrential rains. These rains have been brought to California in a series of atmospheric rivers, long narrow channels of water vapor in the atmosphere that reach from tropical latitudes to the coast of California. These channels bring rainfall to the state when they are disrupted by atmospheric conditions over California's eastern mountains. This visualization of atmospheric water vapor and precipitation during the first three weeks of February clearly show the successive atmospheric rivers and the resulting rainfall.
This visualization combines precipitation data from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals (IMERG) and water vapor data from the Goddard Earth Observing System Model (GEOS). These datasets show the extreme rainfall that occurred in California during the first three weeks of February 2017 and the atmospheric rivers that transported the rain to the area. This video is also available on our YouTube channel.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 220.127.116.11.0