Dr. F. Martin Ralph to Present his Research on Atmospheric Rivers Water Conference

By on August 2, 2019

The terminology “atmospheric river” has become a common description for specific downpours in California but do we really know what they are and how they impact our water supply? The Building Industry Association, Baldy View Chapter (BIA) just announced that Dr. F. Martin “Marty” Ralph from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego will give the lunchtime keynote presentation at the 13th Annual San Bernardino County Water Conference.

“Planning for future extreme water events for the Southwest is critical to aid in balancing water supply and flood control,” said Dr. Ralph. “I am pleased to speak at such prestigious event and share my research.”

Dr. Ralph’s synoptic and mesoscale research has focused on understanding the physical processes that create extremes in precipitation ranging from flood to drought, and on advancing associated observations, predictions, climate projections and decision support tools. A primary topic has been atmospheric rivers and their role in mid latitude precipitation.

This year’s conference slated for Friday, Aug. 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. will feature five expert panels to discuss pressing topics within the water industry: “How to Balance our Housing Needs with our Water Demands”, “Water Regulations and Efficiency”, “Whose Water Is It, Anyway?”, “Water Affordability” and “How to Capture the Next Generation of Water Professionals”. The panels will include a Q and A opportunity.

Dr. Ralph was chief of the Water Cycle Branch at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Colorado from 2001 – 2013 where he led the development of the Hydrometeorology Testbed. He also managed NOAA’s Science, Technology and Infusion Program, Chaired NOAA’s US Weather Research Program Executive Committee, and led the creation of NOAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program.

In 2013 he assumed his position with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography where he is the director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, which is focused on providing 21st Century water cycle science, technology and outreach to support effective policies and practices that address the impacts of extreme weather and water events on the environment, people and the economy of Western North America.

Throughout his career Dr. Ralph has sought to better understand, monitor, and predict key elements of the global water cycle including water vapor transport, precipitation and runoff. Scientific understanding of atmospheric rivers, which are critical to both the global water cycle and to the distribution of precipitation and flooding in key parts of the world, is a major thrust. Using these results to evaluate and improve short-term precipitation forecasting and to provide reliable regional climate projections of flooding and water supplies in several areas of the world, are desired outcomes.

Earlier this year, Dr. Ralph and his colleagues unveiled a new scale to characterize the strength and impacts of atmospheric river storms. The scale assigns five categories to the storms to describe a range of scenarios that can prove beneficial or hazardous based on the strength of atmospheric rivers. This new scale is analogous to the scales for hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural hazards that have proven valuable for regions where those phenomena are important.

“We are pleased to have someone of Dr. Ralph’s caliber to address the conference,” said Carlos Rodriguez, BIA Baldy View Chapter CEO.  “We very much look forward to hearing about his research on atmospheric rivers.”

The 13th Annual San Bernardino County Water Conference will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Ontario at 222 North Vineyard Ave. Tickets are $150 per person. More information about the event can be found by visiting http://www.biabuild.com/water-conference.