Giant rivers of moist air that curl off from the tropics are responsible for most of the flooding in the Western United States, and scientists say these atmospheric rivers will become more intense as the planet warms.

new study is now providing some insight into what that could look like in the future.

The research, published Wednesday, shows how much damage the most intense atmospheric rivers today are already doing, finding that just 10 atmospheric river events caused nearly half the flood damage in the U.S. West over the past four decades, adding up to billions of dollars.

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