Hermine and All Things Tropical with Dr. Philip Klotzbach

September 1, 2016

This week we're talking with Dr. Philip Klotzbach! Currently, he's a research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Dr. Klotzbach recieved his PhD from Colorado State while working under the late Dr. William Gray. Dr. Klotzbach now spearheads the "Tropical Meteorology Project" which provides seasonal tropical forecasts along with real-time data on tropical cyclone activity.  We'll discuss his recent work and get his insight on Hermine, Lester, Gaston, and all things tropical. Before listening, be sure to check out his site and his recent research. You can follow Dr. Klotzbach on Twitter: @PhilKlotzbach.

 

 

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Recap of Dr. Klotzbach Interview:

 

On the impacts of Hermine:

 

Dr. Klotzbach: "There's some potential surge impacts that could be pretty significant. The Hurricane Center has developed all these really cool storm surge products over the last couple of years and this is one of the first chances they can run this stuff live. There could be some potential significant surges even though probably the highest it will be is Category 1 when it makes landfall."

 

Dr. Klotzbach: "There's a lot of uncertainty in it's future track. Some models take it pretty close to the coast - potentially bringing a lot of flooding and wind damage into the Mid-Atlantic."

 

On how humans add to tropical forecasts:

 

Dr. Klotzbach: "Frankly a lot of it with meteorologists comes down to communication. You can give people a bunch of models and say 'this is what the models are saying'. You have to realize which models have done well with a particular storm. Some models don't do well with certain types of storms. Some model have streaks where they don't do particularly well."

 

On media coverage of 99L and Hermine:

 

Dr. Klotzbach: "I try to put stuff in perspective. I'm not saying Hermine will be a hurricane when it makes landfall, I just say 'the last hurricane to make landfall here was --- '.

 

"I think you got to be careful not to freak people out. I generally try to not say a whole lot more, especially on intensity and track, than what the Hurricane Center is saying. You don't want to mix the message."

 

Advice to young atmospheric scientists: 

 

Dr. Klotzbach: "My undergrad was in geography and I had a real interest in meteorology... When you're looking at how patterns across the globe impact weather it actually helps to have that spatial view of thing because not everything happens in little boxes. As Dr. Gray always said, 'The entire atmosphere and ocean function as a single unit. When you perturb one thing at one place, you change everything, everywhere else'."

 

Next Week:

We'll have on broadcast meteorologist Jessica Lebel!

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