Hurricanes are among the most studied weather patterns on the planet – scientists track them with radar, watch them with satellites and fly through them with special aircraft.
But despite the effort, and the high stakes involved, major gaps remain in scientific understanding of these colossal storms.
“There are still many aspects that remain poorly understood, particularly as hurricanes move inland,” said James Smith, the William and Edna Macaleer Professor of Engineering and Applied Science and chair of civil and environmental engineering.
Smith is among a group of researchers at Princeton and affiliated institutions pursuing better methods to quantify the threat that hurricanes pose to coastal communities.
“We are working to develop tools for realtime forecasting and for long-term risk analysis,” said Ning Lin Ph.D. ’10, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. “We are trying to estimate extreme wind, storm surge and rainfall all at the same time.”