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Atmospheric River Storms Can Reduce Sierra Snow

Geoffrey Coelho / Flickr
 

Geoffrey Coelho / Flickr

A new NASA study shows that “atmospheric rivers” in California are more likely to result in increased flooding and reduced snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.

Atmospheric rivers, which originate in the Pacific, can provide half of the state’s precipitation. The study says these storms are two-and-a-half times more likely to result in “rain-on-snow” conditions, in which rain falls on existing snowpack, causing the snow to melt. The study says the storms would result in less water available during the summer.