Dr. Michael Bruno, Stevens Institute - Predicting Storm Damage

Mar 4, 2014

Weather predictions indicate that some previously calm areas may begin to experience increased amounts of severe weather in the coming years.

In today's Academic Minute, Dr. Michael Bruno, Dean and Professor of Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, discusses how new imaging technology can be utilized to help inform those who may be in the path of these severe storms.

Michael Bruno is Dean and Professor in the School of Engineering and Science at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. His research and teaching interests include ocean observation systems, maritime security, and coastal ocean dynamics. He is the author of more than 100 technical publications in various aspects of the field.

About Dr. Bruno

  Dr. Michael Bruno - Predicting Storm Damage

If Hurricane Sandy taught we in the scientific community anything, she taught us that we must get better at determining – and explaining – the vulnerability of our coastal cities to these extreme events, and the risk of more such events under a changing world climate.

Hurricane Sandy impacted the New York region with only a few days notice.  But an accurate forecast enabled preparation across all sectors of government, industry, and the general public. Ongoing research is seeking to improve still further our forecasting ability.

More challenging from the standpoint of forecasting AND decision-making is the issue of climate change. Many people still confuse short-term weather events and long-term climate change. If we can improve our understanding of, and ability to forecast climate change and its impacts, we’ll be better prepared to educate the public and guide the decision-makers. 

Weather and ocean simulation and visualization will play a critical role in all of this. We are presently combining improved forecasts of extreme storm events with the terrific visualization tools that have emerged in the last five years. Anyone who has used Google Earth can easily imagine accessing a street-level view of their neighborhood during a storm. This capability is 100% feasible using existing technologies including high-resolution ocean simulation, and very high-resolution knowledge of land topography produced by light detection and ranging surveys. Combined with knowing the location of buildings, infrastructure, etc., these technologies will enable a detailed understanding of the impacts of extreme events and convey to the decision-maker – both the individual homeowner and the government and industry stakeholder – the need to act. 

Production support for the Academic Minute comes from Newman’s Own, giving all profits to charity and pursuing the common good for over 30 years, and from Mount Holyoke College.