Structure, Process, and Mechanism

Harald Sodemann, Heini Wernli, Peter Knippertz, Cordeira M. Cordeira, Francina Dominguez, Bin Guan, Huancui Hu, F. Martin Ralph, Andreas Stohl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Questions this chapter tries to answer include: how do ARs work, why are there ARs, and what is their place in global water and energy cycles? Sect. 2.2, drawing from the substantial body of published literature, explores what ARs are, phenomenologically. Based on observations, what do the horizontal and vertical sections of ARs look like? Section 2.3 covers concepts related to ARs: warm conveyor belts and TMEs, including climatologies and their relevance-all helping delineate their differences and similarities to ARs, and thus helping to define what is-and is not-an AR. Section 2.4 focuses on the water transport in ARs, reviewing the different approaches to quantify moisture transport, and to identify moisture sources, all of which contribute to the current understanding of the moisture budget of ARs, and links phenomenology (Sect. 2.2) with dynamic understanding (Sect. 2.4). Section 2.5 combines the complex picture of ARs and their embedding in atmospheric dynamics, including aspects of how extratropical dynamics affect ARs, and their links to (a) upper-level dynamics (Rossby wave breaking and cutoff lows, (b) extratropical cyclones and alternative concepts, and (c) high-latitude dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAtmospheric Rivers
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9783030289065
ISBN (Print)9783030289058
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • AR structure
  • Mid-latitude cyclone
  • Tropical moisture export
  • Warm conveyor belt
  • Water budget
  • Water vapor transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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