Special to UM News
MIAMI—The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science research team led by Professor David Nolan has been awarded the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) prestigious Banner Miller Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the science of hurricane and tropical weather forecasting published in an international journal during the previous four years.
Nolan, whose research focuses on the dynamics of hurricanes and the improvement of hurricane forecasts, and his team received the biannual award during the AMS Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology meeting, held recently in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for an article, “Development and validation of a hurricane nature run using the Joint OSSE nature run and the WRF model,” which appeared in the Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems in 2013.
The article describes the development of an extremely realistic computer simulation of an Atlantic hurricane and its validation by comparisons to observations in real hurricanes. This “nature run” computer simulation is currently used by more than a dozen research groups in various Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSE). OSSEs are used to determine the effectiveness of new instruments, such as new satellites or unmanned aircraft, in improving hurricane forecasts before they are actually deployed, which potentially saves millions of dollars.
“Part of the success of this project is that we made the nature run freely available for anyone to download,” said Nolan, professor and chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. “In addition to OSSEs, it has been used by several groups for basic research on hurricanes.”
Nolan’s coauthors include Rosenstiel School graduate students Kieran Bhatia and Lisa Bucci and Robert Atlas, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Atmospheric and Oceanic Marine Laboratory in Miami. The NOAA Office of Weather and Air Quality and its Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program supported their work. Bhatia is now a postdoctoral fellow at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.