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Extreme West Coast Precipitation: R-Cats

November 28, 2012

People in Sacramento navigate K Street in rowboats during the California flood of 1861-62, which historians say obliterated up to 25 percent of the assessed property value in the state.

CNAP researcher Mike Dettinger has been working with colleague Marty Ralph on a system to categorize extreme precipitation episodes. This system, coined R-Cats, was described in a paper recently published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (click below for personal-use copy).

Ralph, F.M., and M.D. Dettinger, 2012: Historical and national perspectives on extreme west-coast precipitation associated with atmospheric rivers during December 2010.

This work was also highlighted in a top science feature story from USGS:

Categorizing West Coast Storms

Current research uses factors such as ground-based sensing of water vapor and soil moisture with the goal of giving federal, state and local forecasters and water managers a much more precise understanding of the West Coast’s water situation and the potential for floods.

 

 

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