By: Bill Wellock 

The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1 and runs through November.

Florida State University faculty are leaders in the study of hurricanes and the effects of these destructive storms. Their scholarship has led to research on infrastructure challenges, evacuation routes, sustainable tools and mental health challenges for those affected by hurricanes. Other researchers are considering the effects on coastal wildlife and building better tools to improve forecasting.

FSU faculty members are available to answer media questions and provide perspective for news stories throughout the 2022 hurricane season, which officially runs from June through November.

Four faculty members participated in a virtual news briefing about hurricane season and their expertise.

FORECASTING, FORMATION AND TRACKING
Mark Bourassa, professor of meteorology and associate director of the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies

Bourassa uses on-site and remote observations as well as meteorological models to research air-sea interactions and how satellites measure what is happening on the Earth’s surface. He is an expert in surface water waves and the identification of tropical disturbances, which are possible precursors to tropical cyclones. Bourassa is also a team leader for the NASA Ocean Vector Wind Science Team.

Ming Cai, professor, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science

Cai studies the relationship between tropical storm size and intensity and how that relationship can improve forecasting. A recent publication examined how polar ice and atmospheric water vapor influence variations in climate models.

Allison Wing, assistant professor, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science

Wing is an expert on climate and hurricanes. Her research group studies atmospheric dynamics and climate, with a special interest in tropical cyclones and tropical convection, the clustering of clouds and thunderstorms. She was named to Popular Science’s Brilliant 10, a recognition for early career scientists conducting groundbreaking work.

 

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
David Merrick, director of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program; director of the Center for Disaster Risk Policy

 Merrick has worked in state emergency management for more than 15 years in roles such as planning, external affairs and air operations. He developed and currently oversees the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program’s Disaster Incident Research Team, which deploys to disaster impact areas to perform field research on disaster and emergency management. This team has deployed to disasters such as hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Michael to assist state and local agencies, perform data collection, and complete research projects. His research interests include emergency management planning and policy, remote sensing and unmanned aircraft systems and information technology in emergency management.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
Shi-Ling Hsu, D’Alemberte Professor, College of Law

Hsu is an expert in the areas of environmental and natural resource law, climate change, law and economics, and property. He has published in a wide variety of legal journals and co-authored the casebook Ocean and Coastal Resources Law. Before entering academia, he was a senior attorney and economist for the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. He teaches Property and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Climate Change.

 

EVACUATION
Eren Ozguven, associate professor, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and director of the Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Response (RIDER) Center

Ozguven directs the Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Response Center, which promotes all-inclusive and equitable disaster resilience for vulnerable populations. His research interests include transportation accessibility, modeling of emergency evacuation operations, urban mobility and smart cities and the simulation of transportation networks. Recent scholarship focuses on the relationships among different infrastructure networks in Florida and how that contributes to disaster preparation.

 

RISK AND INSURANCE
Patricia Born, Payne H. & Charlotte Hodges Midyette Eminent Scholar in Risk Management & Insurance

Born researches insurance market structure and performance, professional liability, health insurance and the management of catastrophic risks, such as hurricanes and other natural disasters. She is a past president of the American Risk and Insurance Association and the Risk Theory Society and is editor of Risk Management and Insurance Review.

Charles Nyce, Robert L. Atkins Associate Professor of Risk Management & Insurance and research director of the Center for Risk Management Education & Research

Nyce’s main research area is catastrophic risk financing, and he has authored numerous articles on a variety of risk management and insurance topics, including title insurance, enterprise risk management, predictive analytics and natural hazards.

 

PUBLIC HEALTH
Mathew Hauer, assistant professor, Department of Sociology and Center for Demography and Population Health

Hauer studies the impacts of climate change on society. Recent work has focused on how migration caused by sea level rise could reshape the population distribution in the United States in costly and permanent ways. His research has been featured in CNN, The New York Times, The Nation and other publications.

Chris Uejio, associate professor, Department of Geography

Uejio researches how the physical environment influences human health and well-being. He frequently helps health departments understand and adapt to climate change. His recent research includes investigations of extreme heat, disasters and health, climate change adaptation and diseases carried in water or by mosquitoes. Uejio has been quoted in the Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times and other news outlets about public health issues, including hurricanes.

 

URBAN PLANNING
Tim Chapin, professor of urban and regional planning and dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy
[email protected]
, (850) 644-5488

Chapin studies urban planning, community planning, resilience and post-disaster redevelopment. He has researched the effectiveness of Florida’s growth management system and is an expert on land development, comprehensive planning, and state versus local roles in managing growth.

Dennis Smith, planner in residence, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
[email protected]

Smith is the director of the Mark & Marianne Barnebey Planning & Development Lab, which uses the academic and professional resources of Florida State University to connect with public and private partners to provide capacity and innovative planning for the sustainable growth and long-term viability of Florida communities. His work has focused on risks to the built environment, including projects for resiliency, transportation modeling, evacuation planning for high risk areas and vulnerability assessment. He has extensive experience managing state and federal programs and a thorough knowledge of laws relating to land use, transportation and disaster recovery.

COASTAL WILDLIFE
Thomas Miller, professor of biological science
[email protected], (850) 644-9823

Miller researches coastal dune vegetation and the forces that influence plant communities on barrier islands, especially in the northern Gulf of Mexico. He has been conducting a long-term study of the vegetation at several locations to isolate the effects of hurricanes, drought, geomorphology and succession on both the vegetation living on dunes and the structure of the dunes themselves.

 

COMMUNITY RESILIENCE
Marcia Mardis, professor and associate dean for research, College of Communication and Information

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, which hit Florida’s Panhandle in 2018, Mardis partnered with rural public libraries and county governments on projects that developed public libraries as community resources for responding to natural disasters. The work, which is being completed with grants from the National Science Foundation Civic Innovation Challenge and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, will improve understanding of emergency response operations and contribute to disaster-related policies and plans for rural public libraries and their communities.

Holly Hanessian, professor and head of ceramics concentration, College of Fine Arts
[email protected]

Hanessian is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics who has taught, lectured and exhibited projects and sculptural artworks in the United States and internationally. Her works include several art-based social practice projects, including a Hurricane Emergency Art Kit that is designed to address both the physical and mental health of hurricane victims and provide items such as a mini water filter, books and small ceramic art pieces. Current projects include working with at-risk communities to gain access to clean water, reduce reliance on single-use plastic water bottles, and to help with hurricane disaster relief through FSU’s RIDER Center.