Climate & Environmental Hazards

Climate & Environmental Hazards
FOCUS AREA:  orange arrow CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDSResearchMembersTeamArchive

The Climate & Environmental Hazards program brings together physicists, engineers, and computer scientists to address shared computational problems. The Program develops innovative solutions and uses advanced computing to address the challenges scientists face in the observation, analysis, modeling, and prediction of phenomena in areas such as atmospheric, oceanic, and climatic phenomena, as well as problems related to fluid dynamics (example below), solid structures, and materials.

Headed by Dr. Ben Kirtman at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) on the UM campus on Virginia Key, the team includes Assistant Scientist, Dr. Dughong Min. Dr. Min and Dr. Kirtman have been doing forecasts for NOAA since 2007. Dr. Kirtman is the scientific lead on NOAA’S Climate Prediction Task Force, and the Director of CIMAS, the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies.

Officially adopted by NOAA in May 2016, UM’s NMME (North American Multi-Model Ensemble) prediction model will be used through June 2018. This is a huge feather in the cap of Dr. Kirtman and his team, who have greatly improved the reliability of the prediction models (the multi-model ensemble includes participants from other schools as well as NOAA’s own model). NOAA relies on UM’s NMME for predictions, and it contributes greatly to hurricane forecasts.

To help further knowledge about direct climate science, Dr. Kirtman’s team set up a “global connect” to utilize and share data. There are two ways the Climate & Environmental Hazards program’s global statistics can be used: 1) pure statistics, and 2) regional models (NCDF data—how to get it/select). The program is currently working on data with 10K resolution for oceans, and 15-25K in the atmosphere, which can be used to help places like the City of Miami Beach make decisions regarding measures to address sea-level rise.  To date, the program has shared data requests with over 100 users, including a group from George Mason University who is using the high-res data to see how the disturbance of hurricanes affects water-surface temperature, to aid in the prediction of storm intensity. RSMAS Professor and Chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, David S. Nolan is also working to forecast storm intensity.  In addition to water-surface temperature, the other important factor in hurricane prediction is wind shear.  Wind shear prevents hurricanes, so NMME is being used to forecast wind-shear anomalies (“shear index”).

This important NMME-Phase II system is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Energy (DOE), Environment Canada, NASA, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

To contact Dr. Kirtman, email him at:


Program Director

Benjamin Kirtman, PhD, Program Director, Climate & Environmental Hazards program, Center for Computational Science, University of Miami

Benjamin Kirtman, PhD


MASTHEAD IMAGE SOURCE:  Portrait of Global Aerosols | NASA  Image credit: William Putman, NASA/Goddard

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