Saturday, November 15, 2008

University of Rhode Island Oceanography School gets hurricane-study financing

Providence Journal (Rhode Island): American affiliate of a global reinsurance company is awarding $630,000 to researchers at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography to finance new studies of hurricane forecasting, risk analysis and the relationship between climate change and hurricanes.

The two-year grant is scheduled to be announced tomorrow morning at the Bay Campus. It is one of the largest corporate research awards ever received by the university. It will finance the work of two oceanographers, Isaac Ginis and Lewis Rothstein, as well as two postdoctoral researchers and others. The grant comes from WeatherPredict Consulting Inc., an affiliate of RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest casualty reinsurer.

Ginis and Rothstein have done hurricane modeling in the past that is now used by the National Hurricane Center to better track the course of hurricanes headed toward the United States. Now they will focus on what happens when hurricanes move from the ocean to land, a phenomenon about which much more needs to be known, according to associate dean Kathryn Moran. “The whole energy system changes when the storm hits land,” said Moran.

She said the grant is significant because it is a lot of money and it will generate new findings that will be publicly available. Typically grants from private businesses have strict disclosure limitations, Moran said. “The company is interested in the knowledge, and there are no strings attached,” Moran said….

Hurricane Rita, September 2005

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