LSU researchers develop model to predict hurricane intensities

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This GOES- East GeoColor satellite image taken Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, at 10:30 p.m. EDT., and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Mindy as it makes landfall on the Florida Panhandle. The storm touched down over St. Vincent Island, about 10 miles (15 km) west southwest of Apalachicola, according to the National Hurricane Center. (NOAA via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – LSU researchers have found a way to predict the number of hurricanes that may come through the Gulf of Mexico in the summer and fall.

By observing the temperature of the atmosphere miles above Earth, LSU’s new models for the Gulf can help governments plan disaster responses and weaken the danger disasters cause.

 Paul Miller, LSU Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences assistant professor and lead author of the new study says that the research paper was trying to develop a specific forecast to meet the need for predicting the Gulf of Mexico hurricane system.

“The Gulf of Mexico is a very active sub-basin of the Atlantic,” Miller said. “Last year, Louisiana alone hosted five named storms.”  

Although climatologists have developed a number of ways to predict hurricane intensities, ,most models look at the whole Atlantic basin rather than just the Gulf.

Miller and co-author Jill Trepanier, LSU Department of Geography & Anthropology associate professor, reviewed model records kept by the National Center for Environmental Prediction. They started with the year 2012 to look for trends that could reveal ways to predict storms in the Gulf.  

They noticed a correlation between the temperature at the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, and the number of storms and developed a model they could use with the gathered data.

Miller said that the government can use this model to better prepare resources for disaster mitigation, whether it’s setting up shelters or other issues. 

The model can also help industries like offshore oil and gas operations to slow down their operations in advance of possible stormy patches.  

“We felt that this was a really important thing to do,” Miller said.  

Read more about the study here.

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