UM Rosenstiel School-Led Research Team Honored for Outstanding Research Paper

Atmospheric Sciences professor David Nolan and team awarded for outstanding contribution to hurricane science and tropical weather forecasting

MIAMI—A University of Miami (UM) 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. The Banner Miller award, given biyearly at the AMS meeting on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, recognizes an outstanding contribution to the science of hurricane and tropical weather forecasting that was published in a journal with international circulation during the previous four years.

Nolan, whose research focuses on the dynamics of hurricanes and the improvement of hurricane forecasts, and the research team received the award during the AMS Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology meeting held in April 2016 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The award recognized the research team’s 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 the validation of its realism by comparisons to observations in real hurricanes. This computer simulation–the “nature run”–is currently used by over a dozen different 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, potentially saving 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 at the UM Rosenstiel School. “In addition to OSSEs, it has been used by several groups for basic research on hurricanes.”

Nolan’s co-authors include UM Rosenstiel School graduate students Kieran Bhatia and Lisa Bucci, and Robert Atlas, director of NOAA’s Atmospheric and Oceanic Marine Laboratory in Miami. The NOAA Office of Weather and Air Quality and its Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program supported their work. Kieran Bhatia is now a postdoctoral fellow at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.

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About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit:

Atmospheric Sciences professor David Nolan

David S. Nolan, Professor and Chair Department of Atmospheric Sciences

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