Hurricane Research Gains Award

June 15, 2000 | Mike Key

A trio of University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists and a NOAA scientist have been awarded the fourteenth Banner Miller Award by the American Meteorological Society for “an outstanding contribution to the science of hurricane and tropical weather forecasting.” The award was given to Christopher Velden, Timothy Olander, Steven Wanzong (University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies) and Raymond Zehr (NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere) on May 31 at the American Meteorological Society’s 24th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology banquet.

This year’s award honors “two outstanding contributions on satellite techniques that address tropical cyclone intensity and track prediction problems published during the years 1996-1999 … .”

A pleased Christopher Velden, leader of the Tropical Cyclones group at UW–Madison and NOAA’s CIMSS, calls the award the “Heisman [trophy] of tropical meteorology awards.” “The papers, both published in 1998,” explained Velden, “were on the impact of GOES winds on hurricane track forecasts (by Velden, Olander and Wanzong) in Monthly Weather Review, and on the development of the objective Dvorak technique (by Velden, Olander and Zehr) in Weather and Forecasting.” Both techniques have been used by the U.S. Navy and the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center offices to strengthen hurricane forecasts. Velden credits the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, a branch of NOAA, and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory with financial and other support.

The Banner I. Miller Award was given by the AMS first in 1977 and is given every time the tropical meteorology community meets in formal session, usually every other year. Nominations are made from papers published in the previous 48 months. Past recipients include Kerry Emanuel and Richard Rotunno in 1992 for their hurricane energetics model and William Gray, Christopher Landsea, Paul Mielke, Jr., and Kenneth Berry in 1994 for their method to develop seasonal hurricane forecasts.

News of the award appeared in the current issue of the UCLA Tropical Newsletter.Recipients will be honored again at the annual conference of the American Meteorological Society in Albuquerque, NM in January.

Full names of the award-winning papers are: “The impact of multispectral GOES-8 wind information on Atlantic tropical cyclone track forecast in 1995 (Part I: Dataset methodology, description and case analysis),” in Monthly Weather Review, Vol. 126, and “Development of an objective scheme to estimate tropical cyclone intensity from digital geostationary infrared imagery,” in Weather and Forecasting, Vol. 13. The tropical meteorology meeting was held from May 29 to June 2 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

For more information contact SSEC’s Public Information Officer at 608-263-3373 or Chris Velden at 608-262-9168,

For information about past media appearances, visit SSEC In the News.