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Hurricane Sandy: U-Michigan Experts can discuss science behind storm, future predictions

MEDIA ADVISORY

ANN ARBOR—Extreme weather experts at the University of Michigan are available to discuss both Hurricane Sandy and how technology under development today could help meteorologists more accurately predict storm intensity in the future.

Perry Samson, a professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences, says that when Sandy makes landfall, it could have characteristics of both a hurricane and a nor'easter, Samson can discuss the science behind the storm. He says a cold front will provide an extra kick to Sandy at a time when it would normally be diminishing in strength. While Sandy will likely be a major storm with 40-50 mph winds, it won't be a hurricane. Minimum hurricane wind speeds are 75 mph. Reach him by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Samson describes the storm in this video:

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Chris Ruf, a professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences, leads a $151.7 million NASA satellite project designed to help scientists understand and predict storm intensity. The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) of eight microsatellites is expected to launch in three years. It will allow scientists to probe the inner core of hurricanes and improve upon measurements they can only make today with airplanes during storms. Ruf points out that with Hurricane Katrina, for example, the prediction for the storm's track was right on, but its intensity was not. The storm surge turned out to be three times worse than predicted. Reach Ruf at (734)764-6561, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Ruf discusses CYGNSS in this video:

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Henry Pollack, professor emeritus of earth and environmental sciences. Pollack was one of the U-M scientists who contributed to the climate reports issued by the United Nations-sponsored panel that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. He is also a scientific adviser to Gore's Climate Reality Project. Pollack can be reached at (734) 763-0084 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Knute Nadelhoffer, director of the U-M Biological Station, can discuss the effects of climate change. Contact him at (734) 763-4461 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Marc Perlin, director of the Marine Hydrodynamics Lab, can discuss storm surges and why they are destructive. Perlin, a professor of ocean engineering, has spent time researching hurricane storm surges in effort to validate prediction models. The only precedent for this storm, he says, is the 1962 Ash Wednesday nor'easter that stayed off the coast New Jersey for days. It's impossible to predict how long a storm will stay at the place it makes landfall, he said. Reach him at 734-763-4754 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information, http://name.engin.umich.edu/people/faculty-listings/perlin.

Michael Kennedy, lecturer in architecture at U-M's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, has designed and built many buildings in the hurricane zones of Central/Gulf Coast Texas. He has taught/coordinated graduate and undergraduate construction coursework since coming to Michigan, large and small building construction. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Bio: http://taubmancollege.umich.edu/faculty/directory/index.php?sel=121

Harley Etienne, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, spent a lot of time in Haiti after the earthquake. He deals more with the social impacts of disasters. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Bio: http://taubmancollege.umich.edu/faculty/directory/index.php?sel=286