The University of Miami’s name is synonymous with hurricanes – not only for our record-breaking athletic teams, but also for the ground breaking scholarly research being conducted throughout the school. Our innovative approach to studying the development, intensification and lasting effects of tropical cyclones on human beings and our environment has defined us as a global leader in the effort to better understand this weather phenomenon. Striving to provide the most advanced and accurate scientific information to our community, faculty members from the University, working in a diverse array of disciplines, are available to answer media questions about these extreme weather phenomena, and other related topics.

*Denotes Spanish-speaker

Remote Sensing – Real-Time Observations and Forecasting

Hans C. Graber, Sc.D.,  is chairman and a professor in the division of Applied Marine Physics at RSMAS, as well as the Executive Director of the University’s Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS).  Dr. Graber also operates a hurricane forecasting model using remotely sensed data that predicts winds, waves and storm surge up to five days in advance. He recently completed a large field program studying typhoons in the western Pacific. Dr. Graber’s research focuses on radar remote sensing of hurricanes/typhoons, understanding air-sea interactions and the generation of ocean waves and storm surge.
Phone: 305-421-4952

Meteorology – Hurricane Intensity, Air-Sea Interactions, Waves, Clouds

Bruce Albrecht, Ph.D., is a professor in the division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at RSMAS. Dr. Albrecht’s research focuses on clouds and climate interactions, tropical meteorology, and remote sensing of clouds and precipitation. Dr. Albrecht is available to discuss research findings on clouds and their role in hurricane development, a phenomenon not well understood and thought to be pivotal in understanding hurricane intensification.
Phone: 305-421-4043

William Drennan, Ph.D., is a professor in the division of Applied Marine Physics at the RMAS.  In 2007, he and his team designed and deployed a first-of-its-kind hurricane buoy in “Hurricane Alley,” and participated in a number of hurricane studies. Dr. Drennan is available to discuss air-sea interaction, boundary layers, surface gravity waves and turbulence.
Phone: 305-421-4798

Brian Haus, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the division of Applied Marine Physics at RSMAS. He studies wave-current interactions, and shelf and estuary dynamics using radar remote sensing techniques. Dr. Haus’ hurricane research involves studies of the air-sea coupling in very high winds. In particular using the Rosenstiel School’s Air-Sea Interaction Saltwater Tank (ASIST), to investigate the effects of wave breaking and spray on the air-sea interface. He is also working with a grant for a new lab to study surge-structure atmosphere interaction in extreme winds.
Phone: 305-421-4932

David Nolan, Ph.D., associate professor in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at RSMAS. He studies the fundamental mechanics of hurricanes – how they work, what causes rapid changes in hurricane intensity, and how the frequency and intensity of hurricanes may (or may not) change with a changing climate. Dr. Nolan is also an expert on hurricane wind field at the Earth’s surface, over the ocean and over land, including such phenomena as wind gusts and wind streaks.
Phone: 305-421-4930

Lynn K. (Nick) Shay, Ph.D., is a professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, studies at RSMAS. Through the Upper Ocean Dynamics Laboratory at RSMAS, He studies the impact of the upper ocean conditions, such as the Loop Current and the associated warm eddy field on hurricane intensity changes. Through NOAA’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project, this year (2011) a joint NOAA and BOEMRE observing program will be conducted using a combination of aircraft expendable profilers (both ocean and atmosphere) deployed from NOAA Hurricane Hunter research aircraft and subsurface ocean moorings deployed in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as part of a long term study of the Loop Current. These data will be cast within our satellite-based altimetry products of oceanic heat content that is being developed through NASA and NOAA support and will be assimilated into research and operational models at NOAA’ AOML and NCEP.
Phone: 305-421-4075

Brian Soden, Ph.D., professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the RSMAS. He uses observations and computer models to study the effects of natural and human-caused climate change on hurricane activity. His collaborations with Dr. Gabe Vecchi at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J. have delivered groundbreaking climatological models and information on the links between ocean temperature, wind shear and hurricane intensity.
Phone: 305-421-4202

Robert Walko, Ph.D., is a senior scientist in the division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at RSMAS. Dr. Walko specializes in the development, improvement, and application of atmospheric models that are used to simulate and predict a wide range of atmospheric phenomena, including hurricanes. He recently developed the OLAM model, which uses advanced techniques for representing storm systems in high detail within the global atmospheric system. Hurricane simulations and forecasts performed with OLAM help us to better understand hurricane behavior, and also provide valuable information that is used to improve atmospheric models. Dr. Walko is available to discuss atmospheric modeling in general and in application to hurricanes.
Phone: 305-421-4621

Biology – Ecological Interactions and Genomics

Yunqui (Daniel) Wang, Ph.D., is a lecturer in the department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Wang studies the genetic structure of South Florida’s slash pine population using polymorphic microsatellite DNA markers. Slash pines are a keystone species of the Everglades pine and rockland community, one of the most endangered forest types in the world. Dr. Wang’s work to characterize the genetic relationships among the remaining pineland population and identify genetically diverse seed sources, are critical steps in the race to restore pine rocklands before a major hurricane hits South Florida. 
Phone: 305-284-4181

Biology – Marine Ecosystems

Peter Ortner, Ph.D., J.D., is a research professor in Marine Biology and Fisheries at RSMAS. He studies the effects of hurricanes on coastal ecosystems, in particular Florida Bay and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dr. Ortner has experience in a number of recovery efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and has served on various federal advisory committees associated with ecosystem management, including the Everglades Restoration effort.
Phone: 305-421-4619

Economics – Policy and Insurance

David Letson, Ph.D., is a professor of Marine Affairs and Policy at RSMAS, with a secondary appointment in the UM Department of Economics. Dr. Letson studies the economics of extreme weather and climate variations, to effect thoughtful resource management and policy.  He recently testified before the Florida legislature on windstorm insurance, as a Council of Economic Advisors member of Florida TaxWatch.
Phone: 305-421-4083

Engineering & Architecture – Structures and Storms

Denis Hector, R.A. LEED AP., is an Associate Dean of the School of Architecture.  He has investigated issues related to natural hazards and the built environment since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  He produced Hurricane Hazard Mitigation, edited with Beth Dunlop, in which he outlines a “Five-Point Disaster Plan” and participated in the Mississippi Renewal Forum charrette after Hurricane Katrina. He is available to discuss how buildings, bridges, and other structures respond in hurricane conditions.
Phone: 305-284-2322

Aristides J. Millas, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the School of Architecture.  He is co-author of Coral Gables, Miami Riviera: An Architectural Guide and Old Miami Beach: A Case Study in Historic Preservation, July 1976-July 1980. Dr. Millas is a specialist on Miami’s architectural history and is available to discuss how Miami’s buildings have weathered hurricanes in the past.
Phone: 305-284-5181

*Helena Solo – Gabriele, Ph.D., is a professor of Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering, as well as co-principal investigator of the NSF/NIEHS Center for Oceans and Human Health at RSMAS. Dr. Solo-Gabriele’s research covers microbes in ocean water, water flows within the Everglades watershed, and metals in pressure treated wood.  Post Hurricane Katrina, she and her team conducted extensive fieldwork on water quality in New Orleans. 
Phone: 305-284-2908

Kaufui Vincent Wong, Ph. D., is a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the College of Engineering. Dr. Wong is an expert on the energy sciences and the environment.  He can talk about the effect of strong hurricane winds and tidal surges on infrastructure like power lines.  He is active on several national committees of ASME specializing in energy policy, including disaster events and environmental impact. 
Phone: 305-284-3314

Geography – Urban/Suburban Planning and Tourism

Peter Muller, Ph.D., is a professor of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Muller is an urban geographer with interests in the geography of suburbanization, urban structural transformation and the management of international urban problems. He is available to discuss where hurricanes occur, and how different cultures handle them, as well as the impacts hurricanes have on urban planning and development along coastlines.
Phone: 305-284-6678

Geology – Coastal Dynamics and Erosion

Harold R. Wanless, Ph.D., is chairman and a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Cooper Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is available to discuss effects of hurricanes on coastal environments, coastal erosion and post hurricane recovery processes.  He has an active research program documenting hurricane effects on coastal environments; and also documenting the geologic and historical evolution of the coastal and shallow marine environments, and influences of sea level rise and anthropogenic stresses.  Dr. Wanless chairs the science committee for the Miami-Dade Climate Change Advisory Task Force.
  Phone: 305-284-4253

Psychology/Education – Children and Adults

Alan Delamater, Ph.D., is a professor of Pediatrics and Psychology, and a Pediatric Psychologist at the UM Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Delamater is an expert on how to help children and their parents cope with stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and parenting issues.
Phone: 305-243-6857

Annette M. La Greca, Ph.D., is a professor of Psychology and director of Clinical Training at the University of Miami. Her research focuses on children’s reactions to trauma (especially natural disasters), adolescent peer relations (including peer victimization) and on anxiety and coping in children and adolescents. Dr. La Greca’s research team documented the effects of post-traumatic stress in children following Hurricane Andrew, and assessed children’s reactions to Hurricanes Charley, Katrina, and Ike to evaluate methods for mediating these reactions over time. Dr. La Greca has authored several publications designed to understand children’s reactions to natural disasters and disseminates information on how to help children cope in the aftermath of disasters. She has also developed several manuals for school personnel, counselors and parents on related topics.  Her After the Storm guide to help children cope with the psychological effects of a hurricane has been widely used after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike and is available for free download at:
Phone: 305-284-5222

Eugene Provenzo, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Education. Dr. Provenzo authored Hurricane Andrew, The Public Schools, and Rebuilding of Community (State University of New York Press), an ethnographic study of the recovery of three schools after Hurricane Andrew, and In the Eye of Hurricane Andrew (University Press of Florida) an oral history of the impact of Hurricane Andrew on the South Florida community.  Dr. Provenzo’s extensive website on Hurricane Andrew can be found at:  He is an expert on the role of schools and educators in helping people cope with natural disasters, as well as the effect of hurricanes on local communities.
Phone: 305-284-5102


Media contacts:
Media Relations Office
(305) 284-5500