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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI Graduate School of Oceanography Scientist
Selected for Excellence Award

Narragansett, R.I. -- October 9, 2002 -- URI Graduate School of Oceanography physical oceanographer Isaac Ginis has been selected to receive the 2002 National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) Award for Excellence in Partnering. The award was given to Ginis and more than 20 educational, government, and industry partners who collaborated on the Coastal Marine Demonstration (CMD) Project.

The CMD Project, one of the first projects funded under the newly established National Ocean Partnership Program, began in 1998 to develop products from computer model outputs to improve environmental prediction for major ports in the United States. The CMD Project integrated new forecasting methods developed for coastal and estuarine waters and included higher resolution atmospheric forecasts and new methods to communicate coastal environmental information.

These methods were developed to provide the Navy, the Coast Guard, and commercial mariners more accurate guidance on ocean and atmospheric conditions that may affect safety of their vessels at sea. The project took place in Chesapeake Bay and the adjacent coastal region. Ginis’s contribution focused on exploring a method for assimilating oceanographic data in the Gulf Stream into a computer model of this area and below the ocean’s surface.
"This project provided an excellent opportunity to evaluate practical applications of the latest advances in oceanic and atmospheric modeling and forecasting," said Ginis. "The unique aspect of this project was a ‘real-time’ mode during two demonstration periods in which the model predictions were disseminated to selected customers. They provided invaluable critique and feedback that helped to not only improve the forecasting skill, but also to develop new methods for dissemination of coastal environmental information."

NOPP was co-authored in 1996 by Congressmen Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) and Curt Weldon (R-PA) to establish partnerships among the public and private sectors in ocean science and research and further establish a national oceanographic agenda.
"I've long been an enthusiastic supporter of the NOPP since its creation in 1997, and truly enjoy seeing the tremendous contributions that it's made to our scientific community across so many important disciplines," said Kennedy. "With oceanic research such an important emerging science to the nation in general and Rhode Island in particular, I hope that this funding goes far toward understanding the complex atmospheric interactions that determine the role that the weather plays in Rhode Island's everyday life. I commend Dr. Ginis for his work and congratulate him for this award."

In a letter to the CMD Project partners, James Yoder, Division Director of Ocean Sciences, National Science Foundation, said that "NOPP proposals are selected based on a number of criteria including both the strength of the science and that of the proposed partnerships. Of completed NOPP-supported projects, the Coastal Marine Demonstration Project was identified as this year’s most outstanding."

Ginis is a well known researcher in hurricane intensity prediction. Along with GSO physical oceanographer Lewis Rothstein, he developed a computer model that was coupled with a hurricane model created by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory (GFDL) to provide a more efficient set of predictors that take into consideration the effects of atmosphere-ocean interaction during storms and more accurate predictions of storm intensity. In 2000, the coupled model became an official component of the national hurricane prediction system used to forecast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico tropical storms and hurricanes.

This past April, Ginis was named a "2002 Environmental Hero" by NOAA in recognition of his contributions in the field of hurricane forecast research.

The GSO is one of the country's largest marine science education programs, and one of the world's foremost marine research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions to such problems as acid rain, harmful algal blooms, global warming, air and water pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal Institute, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Institute for Archaeolocial Oceanography, and the National Sea Grant Library.


Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642: lcugini@gso.uri.edu

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