What Does Atmospheric River Mean? How the ‘Pineapple Express’ Impacts the West Coast

Throughout the year, a weather system known as an “atmospheric river” can impact the West Coast of the U.S., causing flooding, heavy snow and possible mudslides.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines an atmospheric river as a huge plume of subtropical moisture that moves with the weather, carrying water roughly equivalent to the average flow at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

“Atmospheric rivers are relatively long, narrow regions in the atmosphere – like rivers in the sky – that transport most of the water vapor outside of the tropics,” the NOAA states.

Farmers Concerned Over How Mandatory Water Cuts From Colorado River Will impact Agriculture

Two western states are imposing mandatory water cuts because the Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people and about 5 million acres of land across seven states, has dropped to alarmingly low levels.

Nevada and Arizona, concerned that a 20-year drought has dried up much of the river, are trying to rein in water use in an effort to save the disappearing river.

Mysterious Freshwater Reservoir Found Hidden Beneath The Ocean

Scientists have found a gigantic freshwater aquifer hidden deep below the ocean. The surprising discovery, from a new survey of the sub-seafloor off the northeast U.S. coast by researchers from Columbia University, appears to to be the largest formation of this type anywhere in the world — stretching from Massachusetts to New Jersey and extending continuously out about 50 miles to the edge of the continental shelf. Researchers said that if it was discovered on the surface it would create a lake covering some 15,000 square miles.