PREDICT Principal Investigators

Michael M. Bell:: Principal Investigator, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Dr. Michael Bell is a Principal Investigator interested in studying the mesoscale processes that lead to tropical cyclone formation. He will be one of the lead flight scientists on the NSF/NCAR GV, helping to collect new aircraft observations in the pre-depression environment for a better understanding of the multiscale interactions needed to build a hurricane. PREDICT will be his sixth field project flying aboard research aircraft in weather ranging from hurricanes to squall lines. Michael will bring his expertise in mesoscale meteorology and his experience collecting and analyzing top quality research data to St. Croix for about five weeks this summer.


Lance Bosart :: Principal Investigator, Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, SUNY, Albany, NY

Lance is a member of the PREDICT scientific steering committee. He will contribute the forecasting effort for PREDICT along with several of his graduate students. Lance is participating in PREDICT because of his longstanding research interests in tropical cyclones, he is particularly interested in learning more about the pre-genesis environment of tropical cyclones and what physical and dynamical processes govern the different genesis pathways that tropical cyclones are observed to follow.


Chris Davis :: Principal Investigator, NCAR, Boulder, CO

Chris Davis is the Director of the NCAR Advanced Study Program and a senior scientist in the NCAR Earth System Laboratory (NESL), Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology (M-cubed) Division. Chris has been a scientist at NCAR for 20 years. For roughly 10 years, he has been studying the formation of tropical cyclones from disturbances that originate in the subtropics and extratropics. Approximately 40% of Atlantic tropical cyclones either form directly from such disturbances or form from easterly waves in the presence of these disturbances. Chris wants to use observations from PREDICT to document the structure of these type of formations. He also has been leading the effort to use the Advanced Hurricane-research WRF (AHW) to predict Atlantic tropical cyclones and help understand their life cycle. Chris will use AHW in conjunction with PREDICT observations to look for dynamics common to all tropical cyclone genesis cases and contrast these with non-developing cases.

Tim Dunkerton :: Principal Investigator

Time Dunkerton is a Senior Research Scientist and Vice President at Northwest Research Associates where he studies dynamic meteorology and atmospheric general circulation.


Andrew Heymsfield :: Principal Investigator, NCAR/NESL, Boulder, CO

Andrew Heymsfiled's field of interest is in ice microphysics, including the processes that lead to ice particle nucleation and growth; the effects of ice clouds on the earth's radiation budget; the reprentation of ice processes in models from weather forecast to climate scales; and the retrieval of ice cloud properties from ground-based and spaceborne remote sensors.


Sharan Majumdar :: Principal Investigator, University of Miami, FL

Sharan is an Assistant Professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami. After completing his Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Cambridge University, he entered the field of meteorology and has developed an interest in tropical cyclones over the past decade. His research group in Miami conducts research in the broad area of predictability. Specific interests include ensemble forecasting, identifying the development of errors in hurricane forecasts, and designing strategies to assimilate "targeted" observations from satellites or aircraft. During PREDICT, Sharan and his students are conducting research into large-scale sources of uncertainty and error in forecasts of tropical cyclone formation, in collaboration with Professor Ryan Torn and the PREDICT team.


Mike Montgomery :: Lead Principal Investigator, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Dr. Michael Montgomery is a professor of tropical meteorology in the Department of Meteorology at the Naval Postgraduate School. His meteorological research and teaching interests span dynamic meteorology, synoptic meteorology, geophysical fluid dynamics, geophysical turbulence, theoretical, experimental, and computational fluid dynamics, and applied mathematics. Meteorological research expertise in tropical cyclones (hurricanes/typhoons), midlatitude cyclones, polar lows, fronts, mesoscale convective vortices, tornadoes, stratospheric circumpolar vortex, and other atmospheric vortices.


David Raymond :: Scientist :: Physics Department and Geophysical Research Center, New Mexico Tech

For PREDICT, David will be doing whatever needs to be done, including flying as airborne scientist on the NSF/NCAR GV. He have been doing airborne research with NCAR facilities since the 1970s, starting with the NCAR Queen Airs and the Sabreliner.

While David has years of experience working on other research aircraft all over the world, PREDICT will be is first field deployment with the NSF/NCAR GV, which he is very excited about! The picture to the left shows David (left) and Wen-Chau Lee (right) aboard the NRL P-3 during a field deployment in Guam in 2008.


Ryan Torn :: Principal Investigator

Ryan has had a lifelong interest in Meteorology, and in particular what processes limit our ability to make accurate weather forecasts. Given that most numerical weather prediction models appear to have difficulty predicting tropical cyclogenesis, this field program fit his research interests well. He earned his PhD from the University of Washington in 2007, where he worked on developing methods to understand how errors in a model's initial condition errors grow to impact the subsequent forecast. Ryan spent one year at NCAR as a post-doc, where Chris Davis asked me to participate in PREDICT because of his expertise. During PREDICT, he will be running a numerical forecasting system that will include running multiple forecasts all starting at the same time and evaluating what features are impacting the predictability of genesis. This forecasting system will also be used by the PREDICT forecasting team.


Chris Velden ::  Principal Investigator & Lead Forecaster

Chris is one of the Principle Investigators for PREDICT, with a focus on how the mid-to-upper level environment may play a role in the Tropical Cyclone genesis process. His team at Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) will be responsible for the satellite data and products support of PREDICT. He is also one of the lead forecasters, and will be stationed in St. Croix for about 3 weeks during the PREDICT deployment.

CIMSS is a NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) cooperative institute, collocated at the University of Wisconsin. They specialize in satellite data processing, algorithm development and science applications. Within CIMSS, they have a Tropical Cyclones group, of which he is the team leader. Several members of his group will be participating in PREDICT.

The PREDICT science steering team asked him to join this project as a collaborating PI, and to lend his satellite data/products expertise to the observational toolbox that they will have available for detailed analyses of Tropical Cyclone genesis. He was intrigued by this offer, as the process of Tropical Cyclone genesis remains as one of the unanswered mysteries of the tropics. While the primary focus of the project hypotheses are on describing the role of the lower-tropospheric pouch and critical layer, his interests will be to explore the possible role of the upper-level environment during the pouch episodes. In particular, they hope to describe through high-resolution satellite-based analyses, augmented by high-level aircraft data, if a favorable upper-level environment can occur (low inertial instability, low shear, high moisture, outflow/mass flux vents, etc) independent of storm-induced flows, and in superposition with the pouch dynamics, to synergistically serve as an optimal set-up for genesis to happen.


Zhuo Wang :: Principal Investigator & Forecaster

Zhuo is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on tropical cyclone formation, in particular, tropical cyclone formation from tropical easterly waves and the multi-scale interaction involved in tropical cyclone formation. Zhuo collaborated with Dunkerton and Montgomery and proposed the marsupial paradigm, which is one of the hypotheses to be tested in the PREDICT field campaign. Zhuo has played a lead role in developing the "marsupial" forecast products. The marsupial products, which are based on the diagnosis of operational model forecasts in the marsupial framework, predict the thermodynamic evolution of the wave "pouch" and the genesis location within the precursor wave disturbance. The real-time marsupial products are expected to provide useful information for flight planning during the PREDICT field campaign.

Zhuo will be stationed in St. Croix for about ten days in mid-September, and take on the role of forecaster and flight scientist. One of her students will be in St Croix in late September to assist daily forecast and dropsonde deployment.


Fuqing Zhang :: Principal Investigator

Fuqing is a professor in the Department of Meteorology at the Pennsylvania State University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Statistics. His primary research focuses on the dynamics, data assimilation and predictability of mesoscale weather and tropical cyclones. Fuqing pioneered the effort of directly assimilating airborne and ground-based Doppler radar observations with the ensemble-based approaches that give the promise of initializing cloud-resolving hurricane models. The cloud-resolving tropical cyclone analysis and forecast system will be running in realtime assimilating in-situ and remotely sensed observations during the PREDICT field phase and is expected to provide numerical guidance to the PREDICT team on the genesis and development of tropical disturbances.

Fuqing plans to in St. Croix for about ten days in late-September possibly filling the role as a flight scientist. One of his postdoctoral research scientists, Dr. Dan Stern, will be in St. Croix in late August to mid-September as a dropsonde assistant.