Editor's Note: The Commerce Data Service recently launched the Commerce Data Usability Project to feature tutorials and case studies in order to assist data scientists, programmers, researchers and other data users access and utilize a range of Commerce Department datasets. As part of this project, a number of external organizations are sharing tutorials illustrating their innovative use of Commerce data. In the guest blog below, Mapbox explains how to visualize NOAA precipitable water data. To learn more about this project, visit www.commerce.gov/datausability.
Atmospheric Rivers (AR) are narrow regions in the atmosphere that transport water across the world. Like a river suspended in the air, these phenomena carry moisture from the humid tropics to temperate areas, where it has the potential to fall as rain or snow. ARs can range in size, and we depend on them to resupply water reserves. However, when a large AR stalls over an area, it also can bring the risk of heavy, damaging rainfalls and flooding.