Chris Alston, a senior at Rutgers University studying meteorology, spent a
summer at CMMAP this year studying hurricane activity along the northeast coast
from Virginia to Maine during the years 1950 to 2009 with guidance from
Professor Wayne Schubert.
Historically, major hurricanes having tremendous impacts have made landfall in
this geographical area. Given that hurricane activity occurs much less
frequently poleward of 35deg, not much research has been done to analyze the
link between climate factors and hurricane activity from Virginia to Maine.
Chris' study analyzed climate factors such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO),
sea surface temperature (SST) profiles, and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
as well as large-scale synoptic weather conditions, with the goal of improving
understanding of hurricane activity in the northeastern U.S.
Hurricanes involve small scale mesoscale motions and physical processes, but the
mechanisms that steer these storms occur on the synoptic scale. The results
suggest that the NAO and general synoptic flow have a significant correlation
to landfalling hurricanes along the northeast coast. Ascertaining a better
understanding of climate factors that affect hurricane activity from Virginia to
Maine could have a significant impact on preventive measures and improving
methods for modeling, thus decreasing the loss of life and property.
Chris' summer research poster,
The Influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation on Hurricane Landfalls from
Virginia to Maine, may be downloaded here (5MB PDF).
Chris' other research interests include mid-latitude cyclones, Nor'eastors,
severe convective storms, and Tropical Cyclones (particularly in the northeast).
When not engaged in his studies, Chris enjoys composing music, racquetball,
traveling the world, movies, and most recreational activities.