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Press Release  
Release Date: Monday, January 28, 2013 1:02 PM
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:

Ron Harris
Director of Communications
Howard University
(202)638-0182
rjharris@howard.edu

     
http://www.howard.edu/newsroom/      
 
Howard Team in Atlantic Ocean Researching Storm Prediction and Hurricanes in U.S. and the Caribbean
 


Vernon Morris

WASHINGTON (January 25, 2013) -- A Howard University-led National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research team is currently in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, where it is studying how small particles suspended in the air originating from Africa affect weather in the U.S. and Caribbean. The team's data could potentially improve hurricane forecasting.

Howard University professor Vernon Morris, Ph.D., principle investigator for the program and director of the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) at Howard, said the Aerosols and Ocean Science Expeditions (AEROSE) hopes to detail the connection between African winds and the particles they carry, called aerosols, and the weather across the Atlantic.

“We are looking at the movement of air masses that come out of West Africa and the associated aerosols,” Morris said.  “Some aerosols come from the dust storms.  Some are coming from the slash and burn fires that they have in certain African countries. Some come from the mega-cities that African nations are building.”

The changes in Africa can really have a cascade-effect throughout the world, he said.   Aerosols produced in West Africa affect the weather in the Caribbean and the United States.  They can also affect human health and potentially alter the quality of life in those regions.

“The aerosols often carry microorganisms that can cause disease in important crops and in delicate ecosystems that support thousands of ocean species,” Morris said.  “Additionally, there is a potential link between aerosols carried across the ocean and a rise in asthma rates recorded in Caribbean island nations in the Atlantic,”

Aerosols and OceanScience Expedition (AEROSE) releases buoy into the ocean that will measure particles carried by the wind (aerosols) as the team attempts to determine the particles'  impact on storms.

The seven-member AEROSE team, which includes two Howard professors, a postdoctoral associate, graduate students from Howard and other universities and a NOAA scientist, is currently off the shores of the Cape Verde Islands

The Howard University team joins an oceanographic scientific team headed by NOAA scientist Claudia Schmid, Ph.D.  The cruise launched Jan. 8 from Charleston, S.C., and is expected to return Feb. 13.   They are traveling aboard the NOAA vessel Ronald H. Brown, named after the first African-American U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the first African-American to serve as chair of the Democratic National Committee. 

The AEROSE mission is divided into three components.  The Aerosol and Trace Gas Operations include Morris, Howard post-doctoral associate Ebony Roper, Ph.D., Chris Spells, a graduate student at Hampton University and Elsa Castillo, a graduate student at the University of Texas El Paso.

The Atmospheric Physics and Radiation Operations include Everette Joseph, Ph.D., deputy director of NCAS and director of the Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation, and Howard graduate student Mayra Oyola.

AEROSE team posing about the NOAA vessel Ronald H. Brown include Vernon Morris, far right, and Everette Morris, third from right, both of NCAS at Howard,and NOAA scientist Claudia Schmid, front row, green jacket

ABOUT HOWARD

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at www.howard.edu.


   
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