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Dr. Allison Wing – Rooting out the errors in storm simulation models

On the eve of every hurricane season, climatologists around the world offer their studied prognostications: Will we see high activity? Low activity? How will ocean temperature affect storm development? What are the chances of a powerful storm making landfall?

Scientists have leveraged improved climate models to simulate tropical cyclone behavior with an ever-increasing degree of accuracy, but basic modeling errors continue to limit the reliability of their forecasts.

Now, researchers from Florida State University, Columbia University and the University of Washington are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to root out those nagging errors. With the support of a $500,000 grant from the NOAA Research, Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections Program (MAPP), the team will develop diagnostic tools to identify the hidden biases that compromise high-powered climate models.

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