DearColleague.us

Letter

Jim Costa

From the office of:

Jim Costa

Sending Office: Honorable Jim Costa
Sent By:
Alexa.Fox@mail.house.gov

Support continued funding for Atmospheric River storm predictions for FY 21

Sending Office: Honorable Jim Costa
Sent By: Alexa.Fox@mail.house.gov

   
     

Support research to help improve Atmospheric River storm prediction to support western water management and storm-sensitive decisions

Current signers: Costa, LaMalfa, Levin, Davis, Lofgren, McNerney, Khanna, Vargas, Rouda, Cox

DEADLINE: COB, March 10, 2020

 

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in supporting research to better understand and predict the extreme weather and precipitation events driving major drought and flooding in the western U.S. 

The Western U.S. faces serious challenges of managing water supply and flood control, balancing many competing needs, with extreme variability. In the last decade, we witnessed a 5-year historic drought that ended in just two winters of extreme rainfall.  Much
of this variability is due to Atmospheric Rivers (ARs), which dominate major precipitation events across California, Oregon, and Washington, into Arizona, Colorado Utah and Idaho.

ARs are responsible for up to 40-60% of the western U.S.’s annual precipitation and nearly 85% of flooding events, at a cost of $1 billion per year, while water supply in California alone enables tens of billions of dollars per year in agricultural output.
Better forecast skill is key to decisions related to West Coast heavy precipitation and its impacts on flood impacts and water supply. Flood damages average $2 billion per year in the west, while water supply in California alone enables tens of billions of
dollars per year in agricultural output.

While current forecasting capabilities can predict broadly the arrival of an AR up to a few days ahead, it remains difficult to predict the landfall position, duration, strength, orientation and snow level accurately – parameters that largely control where
flooding may occur.

Improved forecasting skill requires a combined enhancement of observations, modeling, and data assimilation to improve the understanding of the physics of ARs, their potential predictability, and their impacts on the skill of forecasts over West, Central, and
even Eastern U.S.

Please join us in urging our colleagues on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, in requesting $3 million for Increased Winter Storm Observations, under National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO), Operations, Research, and Facilities (ORF), Aviation Operations and Aircraft Services. This funding will enable NOAA’s OMAO to continue to conduct flights similar to the Hurricane observation program, to collect
AR storm data, and demonstrated feasibility of conducting airborne reconnaissance missions to better observe and predict atmospheric rivers.

If you have any questions and/or would like to sign on, please contact Alexa Fox at alexa.fox@mail.house.gov or at 5-3341. The deadline to sign on is close of business on March 10th.

 

 

March xx, 2020

 

The Honorable José Serrano                                       The Honorable Robert Aderholt
Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,                        Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, 
Science, and Related Agencies                                   Science, and Related Agencies
Washington, D.C. 20515                                            Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Serrano and Ranking Member Aderholt:

As your Subcommittee considers the fiscal year (FY) 2021 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you include an increase of $3 million for Increased Winter Storm Observations, under National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO), Operations, Research, and Facilities (ORF), Aviation Operations and Aircraft Services.

Recent winters on the U.S. West Coast have revealed key vulnerabilities in the region to heavy precipitation and flooding. These conditions, in addition to strong winds and high waves, result primarily from landfalling atmospheric river type rainstorms.

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are responsible for up to 40-60% of the precipitation in the U.S. west coast, and nearly 85% of flooding events, at a cost of $1 billion per year in damages. These extreme storm events are the primary driver of drought and major flooding
events impacting the entire western region. While current forecasting capabilities can predict broadly the arrival of an AR up to a few days ahead, critical details remain difficult to predict accurately.  These include the landfall position, duration, strength,
orientation and snow level – parameters that largely control where flooding may occur. This information is also critical for forecasting and tracking risk related to potentially fatal debris flow in areas recently affected by devastating wildfire.

Improving prediction of landfalling ARs beyond 3-5 days is critical to support emergency services, water management and flood control information needs, such as revealed by the Oroville Dam Spillway issue in 2017, as well as other storm-sensitive decision making
associated with maritime and land transportation activities.

An additional funding of $3 million for this program in FY21 will continue winter storm observations to better observe and predict these extreme storm events which heavily impact the entire western region and provide great risk to life, property, and the economy.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Environment, Natural Resources

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