From: University of California - Santa Barbara
Published October 11, 2017 05:31 PM

The Perfect STORM

The Colorado River tumbles through varied landscapes, draining watersheds from seven western states. This 1,450-mile-long system is a critical water supply for agriculture, industry and municipalities from Denver to Tijuana.

In the drylands of the Colorado’s lower basin, formed by Nevada, Arizona and California, thunderstorms — known in meteorological parlance as convective precipitation — typically control runoff, stream flow, water supply and flood risk to human populations in addition to water availability to vegetation.

Convective precipitation, which can lead to huge floods and subsequent disasters, is generated by heat from the Earth’s surface. Moisture quickly rises into the atmosphere and then condenses very rapidly to form sudden rainstorms that are poorly understood within global climate models and data sets.

Continue reading at University of California - Santa Barbara

Photo: The main channel at Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed in Arizona, which provided data for this study. Photo Credit: KATERINA MICHAELIDES

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