Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in | Create Account

Doctoral Student Dan Chavas asks how meteorological changes affect hurricane size

A self-described ‘weather geek’, doctoral candidate Dan Chavas is fascinated by hurricanes. More specifically, he is interested in what factors influence hurricane development and how large a given storm will become. As he describes, “right now, we have no capacity to predict how big or small a hurricane will be. Sometimes they’re big; often they’re small. I am trying to understand the mechanisms and processes that determine the size of a particular hurricane.”

Using weather models, Dan is investigating how specific changes in meteorological conditions impact the final size of an eventual hurricane. By relating initial weather conditions to the final storms that they produce, Dan hopes to improve our ability to predict how large forming storms will eventually become. “If we can predict that,” he explains, “it’s useful because these storms impact people’s lives—they make landfall and destroy things, and a bigger storm affects a bigger area.” By allowing us to predict the final size of a forming storm, Dan’s work may enable us to better prepare for and respond to emerging hurricanes. As both the frequency and intensity of severe weather events could increase with climate change, this predictive capacity may become increasingly important.

Discussing his work, Dan describes hurricane research as an “open area,” saying, “There is a lot of research to be done in the field, which makes it kind of exciting… we still don’t really understand how hurricanes form; we are not very good at predicting when they are going to get stronger or weaker. There are a lot of fundamental things that we don’t understand still.” For this reason, he may continue to study how hurricanes develop after completing his doctorate. However, Dan is also interested in the policy side of things and would like to work at the nexus where science meets decision-making. For now, Dan is enjoying his work with the Joint Program and being involved with “a lot of interesting people doing a lot of interesting work.”

Spring 2011, by Danya Rumore

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up now!

Researcher Highlights

Researcher Highlights

Category: Education | Updated almost 3 years ago

Created
March 29, 2011 17:18
Category
Tags
License
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files


Viewed
15579 times

More from Researcher Highlights

Master's student Paul Kishimoto makes complex climate and economic models user-friendly

Master's student Paul Kishimoto mak...

Added over 3 years ago | 00:01:01 | 10914 views

Research Scientist Erwan Monier examines uncertainty in climate change

Research Scientist Erwan Monier exa...

Added over 3 years ago | 00:01:58 | 7606 views

Master's student Caleb Waugh studies the impact of air pollutant emission policies on the adaptation of alternative vehicles

Master's student Caleb Waugh studie...

Added over 3 years ago | 00:01:27 | 22288 views

Eri Saikawa

Eri Saikawa

Added almost 3 years ago | 00:02:23 | 2718 views

Doctoral student Timothy Cronin asks how plants affect our climate

Doctoral student Timothy Cronin ask...

Added over 3 years ago | 00:01:50 | 8789 views

Claudia Octaviano models electricity and oil sectors in Mexico

Claudia Octaviano models electricit...

Added almost 3 years ago | 00:02:27 | 3022 views