Hurricane Experts at the Florida State University

Newswise — From prediction to recovery, Florida State University's experts are among the best in the nation when it comes to the study of hurricanes and their impact on people and property. These experts are available to answer media questions and give perspective to news stories throughout the 2009 hurricane season, which begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. FORECASTING, FORMATION AND TRACKINGMark Bourassa, associate professor of meteorology, (850) 644-6923 or 645-4788; bourassa@coaps.fsu.eduBourassa's expertise is in the transfer of energy and momentum between the ocean and the atmosphere and remote sensing, particularly of surface winds. He also is interested in the identification of tropical disturbances, a possible precursor to tropical cyclones. Carol Anne Clayson, associate professor of meteorology and director of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute, (850) 644-5595; Clayson's hurricane research focuses on understanding and modeling storm surge and the upper-ocean cooling associated with hurricanes.

James Elsner, professor of geography, (850) 877-4039; jelsner@fsu.eduElsner is an expert on hurricanes and statistical models for long-range prediction. His research is on developing the science and technology for modeling the risk of a catastrophic storm along the nation's coastline. He studies the relationship of hurricanes to climate factors including El Niño and global warming. His recent work compares hurricane activity along the Gulf Coast measured from historical and geological records. Robert Hart, associate professor of meteorology, (850) 645-1552; rhart@fsu.eduHart's research focuses on hurricane predictability, both track and intensity; the role of hurricanes in climate; and the impact of hurricanes on the higher latitudes. T.N. Krishnamurti, emeritus Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Meteorology, (850) 644-2210; tnk@io.met.fsu.eduKrishnamurti is an international expert in computer modeling in tropical meteorology and numerical weather prediction. He developed the Super Ensemble technique that collects forecasts made by a world community of models and yields a best consensus long-range track, landfall and intensity forecast. He is a recipient of the International Meteorological Organization Prize, the world's top meteorology award. James J. O'Brien, emeritus Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Oceanography and former director of the FSU Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, (850) 644-4581 or (850) 459-1938; jim.obrien@coaps.fsu.eduAn internationally known expert on El Niño and related weather phenomena, O'Brien also is the past state climatologist of Florida. He believes that global climate change is not causing an increase in the intensity or number of hurricanes, and he can discuss the influence of climate variability on hurricanes. Paul Reasor, assistant professor of meteorology, (850) 644-4056; reasor@met.fsu.eduReasor's expertise is in the areas of hurricane vortex dynamics and radar observation of hurricanes, and he has worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's "Hurricane Hunters." He can discuss factors that may impact the intensification and track of a given hurricane as well as how hurricanes are observed for research purposes. Paul Ruscher, associate professor of meteorology, (850) 644-2752; ruscher@met.fsu.eduRuscher is working with graduate students on issues related to hurricane intensification changes at landfall and factors that affect the prediction of hurricane strength in large-scale prediction models. During the past few years, many new high-density data sets and improved numerical models have become available that allow scientists to study such rapid intensity changes. In addition, Ruscher directs the K-12 activities of the meteorology department, which provides an up-to-date Web site for teachers and the general public on the status of storms in the Atlantic basin. Visit HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT AND SAFETYJeff Chanton, the John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography, (850) 644-7493 or (850) 644-2770; chanton@ocean.fsu.eduChanton's research focuses on the production and release of greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide. He can discuss the freshwater needs of estuaries and the coastal ocean and groundwater discharge and emissions into the Gulf of Mexico. Todd L. Walton Jr., director of FSU's Beaches and Shores Resource Center, (850) 644-2847; twalton@fsu.eduWalton is an expert on storm-related coastal erosion. Under his leadership, the Beaches and Shores Resource Center gives technical guidance to the state for the Coastal Construction Control Line Program, which provides protection for Florida's beaches and dunes while assuring the reasonable use of private property. In addition, the center has provided research to improve the accuracy of estimations regarding the storm tide return period, dune erosion and beach nourishment performance. PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERYEarl J. "Jay" Baker, associate professor of geography, 850) 893-8993; jbaker@fsu.eduBaker, a founding member of the National Hurricane Conference, is an expert on human response to hurricanes. He studies how people respond to warnings and evacuation orders and how emergency managers use forecasts to implement evacuation plans. Baker has researched vulnerability perceptions and hurricane preparedness of people in most areas of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts, including the Mid-Atlantic states and New York City, and how prepared households are to subsist on their own following a hurricane. He recently completed a survey of Florida residents to be used in updating the state's evacuation plans.

Robert Deyle, professor of urban and regional planning, (850) 644-8512; rdeyle@fsu.eduDeyle has expertise in hurricane hazard mitigation and disaster recovery planning. He can discuss the effectiveness of local growth management policies in reducing community vulnerability to hurricane flooding and the impact of growth in coastal communities on hurricane evacuation clearance times. Charles McClure, the Francis Eppes Professor and director of the Information Institute at the FSU College of Information, (850) 644-8109; cmcclure@lis.fsu.eduMcClure can discuss the vital role public libraries have in helping communities prepare for and recover from hurricanes and other severe storms, including serving as information hubs, safe havens and FEMA-designated Disaster Recovery Centers. He is coordinating a project that brings together Florida's public libraries, the State Library and Archives of Florida, the Lyrasis library network and emergency response agencies to help libraries better demonstrate the range of services they can provide during disasters. Visit RISK AND INSURANCERandy E. Dumm, associate professor of risk and insurance, (850) 644-7880; rdumm@cob.fsu.eduDumm is an expert on the impact of hurricane losses on insurance prices and availability in Florida and how modeling is used to determine the pricing of the hurricane component of residential property insurance. He is chairman of the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology and can discuss the commission's goals, objectives and purpose.

Patrick F. Maroney, the Kathryn Magee Kip Professor and director of the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center, (850) 644-8217; pmaroney@cob.fsu.eduHoused in the FSU College of Business, the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center engages in research and promotes collaboration with state and federal agencies and other universities in areas such as storm forecasting, building construction, disaster mitigation and risk management. Maroney can discuss property and casualty insurance and insurance regulation. STRESS, TRAUMA AND GRIEFWayne A. Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Management, (850) 644-7849; whochwarter@cob.fsu.eduHochwarter has studied the long-term effects of stress on employees as they return to the workplace following a hurricane. Such effects include increased rates of depression and anxiety, higher incidences of interpersonal conflict at work, higher levels of organizational cynicism and increased rates of employee burnout. The ramifications for employers include higher rates of employee turnover, more absenteeism and reduced productivity. TOURISMMark Bonn, the Robert H. Dedman Professor in Services Management, (850) 644-8244; mbonn@cob.fsu.eduBonn is an expert on the effects that hurricanes have on the tourism industry and economy in Florida. His areas of research and expertise also include hospitality, travel and tourism services as they relate to marketing, quality and value.


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