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American Meteorological Society Bestows Award to Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

By Diana Udel

American Meteorological Society Bestows Award to Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

By Diana Udel

A team of researchers at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, led by Dr. David Nolan, has been awarded the prestigious Banner Miller award by the American Meteorological Society. The award is given every two years at the AMS Meeting on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, most recently held this past April in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Banner Miller award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the science of hurricane and tropical weather forecasting that is published in a journal with international circulation during the previous 4 years.

The award is for the research 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 now being used by over a dozen different research groups in various Observing System Simulation Experiments. OSSEs are a way to determine the effectiveness of new instruments, such as new satellites or unmanned aircraft (drones), in improving hurricane forecasts, before they are actually deployed, potentially saving millions of dollars.

Dr. Nolan’s co-authors were RSMAS graduate students Kieran Bhatia and Lisa Bucci and Dr. Robert Atlas, director of NOAA’s Atmospheric and Oceanic Marine Laboratory, also in Miami. Their work was supported by the NOAA Office of Weather and Air Quality and its Hurricane Forecast Improvement program.

“Part of the success of this project is that we made the nature run freely available for anyone to download,” said Dr. Nolan. “In addition to OSSEs, it has been used by several groups for basic research on hurricanes.” Dr. Nolan is currently serving as the Chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. His research is on the dynamics of hurricanes and the improvement of hurricane forecasts. Kieran Bhatia is now a post-doctoral fellow at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.