URI Graduate School of Oceanography Lecture Looks at Advances in Hurricane Research

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

Narragansett, R.I. — November 3, 2003 — Hurricane research implies something more than science. It is the key to saving lives and mitigating economic damage. From the Galveston catastrophe of 1900, where more than 8,000 people died, to the economic devastation wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, scientists have striven to understand and forecasts hurricanes.

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) will host the third in a series of Inaugural Lectures scheduled for the 2003-2004 academic year. “The Influence of Air-Sea Interaction on Hurricanes: New Perspectives” will be presented on Thursday, November 20, at 12:30 p.m. by Dr. Isaac Ginis, URI physical oceanographer. The lecture will be held in Corless Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett.

In his lecture, Ginis will discuss the ongoing research efforts at GSO toward developing of a new generation of coupled models which incorporate the most recent advances in understanding air-sea interaction in very high wind conditions. In particular, he will discuss the important role of ocean waves in air-sea momentum and heat fluxes and roll vortices in the atmospheric boundary layer and how they can be incorporated in future hurricane prediction models.

Ginis has been focusing his research on air-sea interaction as the primary mechanism influencing hurricane intensity. Over the last seven years he has led the effort toward developing of a coupled hurricane-ocean model that became an official operational forecast system used for hurricane forecasting at the U.S. National Weather Service. While the new coupled model helps to substantially improve the hurricane predictions, the skill of intensity forecasts of very strong hurricanes still remains limited.

A resident of Exeter, Ginis came to the URI Graduate School of Oceanography as a marine scientist in 1993. He was promoted to associate professor of oceanography in 1998 and full professor in 2003. A native of Russia, he received his Ph.D. in geophysics from the Institute of Experimental Meteorology in Obninsk. He has developed several numerical modeling courses for URI that cover various numerical methods applied for solving the fundamental equations governing atmospheric and oceanic motions, marine geophysics, and biophysics.

Last year, Ginis was named a “2002 Environmental Hero” by NOAA in recognition of his contributions in the field of hurricane forecast research. This past January Ginis was one of a group of researchers presented with the National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) Excellence in Partnering Award for his work on the Coastal Marine Demonstration Project.

The audience for the Inaugural Lectures is the scientific community and the general public with an interest in and knowledge of science. Although technical in nature, Ginis’s talk will not be aimed specifically at physical oceanographers. The purpose of the talks is to inform the scientific community about the nature and significance of research being carried out by GSO scientists.

The lectures are free and open to the public. Subsequent lectures will be held every third Thursday of the month at 12:30 p.m. in Corless Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus. For information, call 874-6246.