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ARkStorm 2.0

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Developed in 2010 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the ARkStorm

(Atmospheric River Storm) Scenario are a series of “megastorms” that can occur at any point

during the winter season on the United States West Coast. They are believed to happen 1 in

1000-year event (Arkstorm). Due to extreme temperature changes and climate change issues, a new model has been developed which is ARkStorm 2.0, was developed in 2022 that ran on scenarios from the past, in turn this predicts future scenarios that are possible to happen in about 90-100 year intervals called ARkFuture (Swain).

ArkStorms are a meteorological event that amasses immense amount of water in the

atmosphere due to warm moisture. They carried actual equivalent of rivers through water vapors carried from the tropics during an El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During more humid times, severe rain and snow occurs. While storm intensity, depends upon elevation, their duration can last for several days or weeks. The mega-floods can reach up to 10 feet in height and with water runoff of up to 400% more to previous water tables records. These records are based off historical records from the Great Flood of 1862 that occurred following a heavy winter snowstorm. Climate change is rapidly increasing the odds of mega flood to occur and has almost tripled the risk behavior compared to previous storms (Swain).

The recent extreme rainfall that took place in California that made national news

is minimal compared to an ARkStorm that could happen in the upcoming future, and these storms were still very devastating in the sense of damages done. Another factor that plays a part in ARkStorms is “climate whiplash.” Climate Whiplash is a type of precipitation volatility of drought caused by rising temperatures where land is extremely dry. When an extreme wet situation such as an ARkStorm enhances the effects of flood risk, parched land fails to saturate, thereby losing the ability to hold in water causing extreme flooding. This phenomenon could be compared to pouring water on concrete which would inevitably create a pool of water that would take ages to drain, evaporate or saturate.

The scary reality is that economically, damage funds are expected surpass that of massive earthquakes, causing up to triple the amount of damages financially. An estimated $500 billion to $1 trillion dollars from flooding, agriculture lost, landslides, erosion, loss of highways and homes will be needed to mitigate these storms (Arkstorm). The massive flaw is the state is the flood protections in place are not perfect in rural locations due to levees mostly protecting urban and populated locations. This imbalance would cause mass effects on the United States agriculture that many Americans get access from through produce in stores. Thankfully, USGS is becoming better at predicting with ArkStorms. Ideally the state of California as with their Shakeout exercises yearly (earthquake planning), can come up with ways to prepare the state for the inevitable ARkStorm that could occur with emergencies set in stone by communications, food and shelters.



Arkstorm scenario completed. ARkStorm Scenario | U.S. Geological Survey. (n.d.).

Retrieved January 25, 2023, from


Swain, D. (2022, August 12). ARkStorm 2.0: Climate change is increasing the risk of a

california megaflood. Weather West. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from


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