Newsroom

Hurricane Experts

The University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School is a pioneer in the study of the development, intensification and lasting-effects of tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and other weather-related phenomena. Striving to provide the most advanced and accurate scientific information to our community, we have assembled a list of faculty members from the Rosenstiel School who can serve as valuable resources when crafting your stories this hurricane season. A more comprehensive, university-wide list of experts covering topics such as architecture, psychology and communications is also available at www.miami.edu


Meteorology — Hurricane Intensity, Air-Sea Interactions, Waves and Clouds

Bruce Albrecht
Bruce Albrecht, Ph.D., is a professor in the division of meteorology and physical oceanography at the Rosenstiel School. Dr. Albrecht’s research focuses on clouds and climate interactions, tropical meteorology, and remote sensing of clouds and precipitation. Dr. Albrecht is available to discuss research findings on clouds and their role in hurricane development, a phenomenon not well understood and thought to be pivotal in understanding hurricane intensification.

Phone: 305-421-4043
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Shuyi Chen
Shuyi Chen, Ph.D., is a professor in the division of meteorology and physical oceanography at the Rosenstiel School. Dr. Chen’s research addresses tropical meteorology, specifically studying how the atmosphere and ocean interact in tropical cyclones. Additionally, she studies coastal meteorology and employs mathematical modeling as a means for weather prediction. Dr Chen served as the principal investigator for RAINEX, one of the world’s largest airborne hurricane field programs ever. During the active 2005 hurricane season, she flew aboard one of three Doppler-equipped aircraft that flew into hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, collecting valuable information that is helping to create more accurate hurricane prediction models. Dr. Chen is available to discuss hurricane processes, research on intensification and track predictability and tropical weather phenomena.
 
Phone: 305-421-4048
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Will Drennan
William Drennan, Ph.D., is a professor in the division of applied marine physics at the Rosenstiel School. In 2007, he and his team designed and deployed a first-of-its-kind hurricane buoy in “Hurricane Alley,” and participated in a number of hurricane studies. Dr. Drennan is available to discuss air-sea interaction, boundary layers, surface gravity waves and turbulence.

Phone: 305-421-4798
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Brian Haus
Brian Haus, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the division of applied marine physics at the Rosenstiel School who studies wave-current interactions, and shelf and estuary dynamics using radar remote sensing techniques. Dr. Haus’ hurricane research involves studies of the air-sea coupling in very high winds. In particular using the Rosenstiel School’s Air-Sea Interaction Saltwater Tank (ASIST), to investigate the effects of wave breaking and spray on the air-sea interface.

Phone: 305-421-4932
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Sharan Majumdar
Sharan Majumdar, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the Rosenstiel School. His research focuses on improving analyses and predictions of hurricanes and typhoons, via the intelligent use of satellite and aircraft observations in numerical weather prediction models. Dr. Majumdar has flown on several “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft and is an expert on the state of hurricane forecasting and how researchers and their methods are helping to improve hurricane prediction.
 
Phone: 305-421-4779
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David Nolan
David Nolan, Ph.D., associate professor in meteorology and physical oceanography at the Rosenstiel School studies the fundamental mechanics of hurricanes — how they work, what causes the rapid changes in hurricane intensity, and how the frequency and intensity of hurricanes may (or may not) change with a changing climate.

Phone: 305-421-4930
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Nick Shay
Lynn K. (Nick) Shay, Ph.D., professor of meteorology and physical oceanography, studies the impact of the upper ocean conditions, such as the Loop Current, on hurricane intensity changes. A field program is planned in summer 2009 with NOAA, NSF, MMS, USAF Reserve and the US Navy to deploy profilers, floats and drifters in the Gulf of Mexico prior, during and subsequent to hurricane passage. These data are used to improve coupled ocean-atmosphere models under development at National Center for Environmental Prediction and satellite-derived products such as altimeter-derived Oceanic Heat Content, which is used as a parameter in the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme for forecasting at the National Hurricane Center (See the webpage: http://isotherm.rsmas.miami.edu/heat).
 
Phone: 305-421-4075
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Brian Soden
Brian Soden, Ph.D., professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the Rosenstiel School, uses observations and computer models to study the effects of natural and human-caused climate change on hurricane activity. His collaborations with Dr. Gabe Vecchi at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J. have delivered groundbreaking climatological models and information on wind shear and hurricane intensity.

Phone: 305-421-4202
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Bob Walko
Robert Walko, Ph.D., is a senior scientist in the division of meteorology and physical oceanography at the Rosenstiel School. Dr. Walko specializes in the development, improvement, and application of atmospheric models that are used to simulate and predict a wide range of atmospheric phenomena, including hurricanes. He recently developed the OLAM model, which uses advanced techniques for representing storm systems in high detail within the global atmospheric system. Hurricane simulations and forecasts performed with OLAM help us to better understand hurricane behavior, and also provide valuable information that is used to improve atmospheric models. Dr. Walko is available to discuss atmospheric modeling in general and in application to hurricanes.

Phone: 305-421-4621
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Remote Sensing — Real-Time Observations and Forecasting

Hans Graber
Hans C. Graber, Sc.D., is chairman and a professor in the division of applied marine physics at the Rosenstiel School, as well as the co-director of the University’s Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS). Dr. Graber also operates a hurricane forecasting model using remotely sensed data that predicts winds, waves and storm surge up to five days in advance. He is currently involved in preparing a large field program dealing with typhoons in the western Pacific. Dr. Graber’s research focuses on radar remote sensing of hurricanes, understanding air-sea interactions and the generation of ocean waves and storm surge.

Phone: 305-421-4952
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Biology — Marine Ecosystems

Diego Lirman
Diego Lirman, Ph. D., is a research assistant professor in marine biology and fisheries at the Rosenstiel School, who helped launch a coral nursery in Biscayne National Park to help rescue “orphaned” corals. Dr. Lirman has conducted extensive research on the physical impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms on coral reefs and the sea grass communities of South Florida.

Phone: 305-421-4168
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Peter Ortner
Peter Ortner, Ph.D., J.D., is a research professor in marine biology and fisheries at the Rosenstiel School. He studies the effects of hurricanes on coastal ecosystems, in particular Florida Bay and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dr. Ortner has experience in a number of recovery efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and has served on various federal advisory committees associated with ecosystem management, including the Everglades Restoration effort.

Phone: 305-421-4619
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Robert Cowen
Robert Cowen,Ph.D., is chairman and a Maytag Ichthyology professor in the division of marine biology and fisheries. His research centers on larval fish ecology, fisheries oceanography and ichthyology. He has worked extensively on the biological and physical oceanographic processes affecting the retention and transport of larval fishes, in terms of examining larval dynamics, population replenishment and population connectivity in marine fishes. Dr. Cowen has experience in both reef-related and open ocean environments throughout the Caribbean, along the East Coast of the United States, California and Mexico.

Phone: 305-421- 4023
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Economics — Policy and Insurance

David Letson
David Letson, Ph.D., is a professor of marine affairs and policy at the Rosenstiel School with a secondary appointment in the UM Department of Economics. Dr. Letson studies the economics of extreme weather and climate variations, to effect thoughtful resource management and policy. He recently testified before the Florida legislature on windstorm insurance, as a Council of Economic Advisors member of Florida TaxWatch.

Phone: 305-421-4083
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Human Health and Ocean Microbes

Helena Solo-Gabriele
Helena Solo-Gabriele, Ph.D., is a professor of environmental engineering within the College of Engineering, as well as co-principal investigator of the NSF/NIEHS Center for Oceans and Human Health at the Rosenstiel School. Dr. Solo-Gabriele’s research covers microbes in ocean water, water flows within the Everglades watershed, and metals in pressure treated wood. Post Hurricane Katrina, she and her team conducted extensive fieldwork on water quality in New Orleans.

Phone: 305-284-2908
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Geology — Coastal Dynamics and Erosion

John Wang
John Wang, Ph.D., is a professor of applied marine physics and ocean engineering, at the Rosenstiel School. Dr. Wang studies the flow of water in coastal areas and is an expert on storm surges and related flooding. He is available to discuss the fundamental dynamics of beach erosion.

Phone: 305-421-4648
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Hal Wanless
Harold R. Wanless, Ph.D., is chairman and a professor in the department of Geological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is available to discuss erosion and how hurricanes change the dynamics of coastlines. He has an active research program, funded by the National Park Service, the National Biological Survey, and NOAA to document hurricane effects on coastal environments; also to document the Holocene and historical evolution of the mangrove coastal wetlands, sea level rise and anthropogenic effects on coastal and shallow marine environments. Dr. Wanless chairs the science committee for the Miami-Dade Climate Change Advisory Task Force.

Phone: 305-284-4253
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