It is no secret that the Northwest United States receives copious amounts of rain all year long. From San Francisco to Seattle, cloudy skies and rain are common weather patterns. One reason for this constant stream of precipitation are rivers in the atmosphere that transport moisture from Central and Western Pacific, resulting in precipitation in the U.S. These rivers are part of the cycling of water around the planet, and can also be found in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean basins.
This animation shows the atmospheric rivers using a variety of data from visible and infrared satellites, to special satellite sensors that can detect microwave energy to visualize the river plumes, and even RADAR to measure the amount of precipitation released from the rivers.