August 18, 2009 Scientist Scott A. Braun Discusses "Peering Into the Storm: NASA's Exploration of Hurricanes" on Sept. 16

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Science, Technology and Business Division (202) 707-5664; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (301) 614-6627

Scott A. Braun, a research meteorologist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, studies hurricanes from the inside out. His expertise is using computer modeling and satellite data to study the components of hurricanes, including winds, rainfall and in-cloud heating.

Braun will present “Peering Into the Storm: NASA’s Exploration of Hurricanes” at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at the Library of Congress in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

The illustrated lecture, the fourth in a series of programs in 2009, is presented through a partnership between the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

In the lecture, Braun will provide an overview of the questions that motivate NASA research on hurricanes and describe how NASA addresses these questions through a combined use of satellites, aircraft field campaigns, computer modeling and development of new instrumentation.

Braun has studied the effects of vertical wind shear (a rapid change in wind speed or direction with height) on hurricanes using a model to simulate 1998’s Hurricane Bonnie and 2001’s Hurricane Erin. He studied the winds and updrafts near each hurricane’s eye to learn more about how they change in space and time. Braun found that only a very small percentage of the rainfall outside of the eye actually comes from the eye wall, although the eye wall does provide large numbers of small ice “seed” particles that can then grow into larger ice particles as they fall to the earth’s surface. His current research is focused on the possible impacts of the warm, dry and dusty Saharan air layer on the ability of hurricanes to form and intensify in the Atlantic.

Braun has a doctorate in atmospheric sciences from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a bachelor's degree in science, with a concentration in meteorology, from San Francisco State University. He has worked at Goddard since 1997, and has received numerous awards including the Goddard Honor Award for Earth Science Achievement and the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. He is the project scientist for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite and is a member of NASA's Hurricane Science Research Program team.

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PR 09-156
ISSN 0731-3527