Dr. Shay studies hurricane intensity change and in particular rapid changes which usually occurs within 24 to 48 hours of landfall. Through the Upper Ocean Dynamics Laboratory at RSMAS, the focus of these efforts is on the impact of the upper ocean conditions, such as the Loop Current and the associated warm eddy field on heat transfer rates between the ocean and atmosphere.
Through NOAA’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project and the Intensity Forecasting Experiments, this year (2012) a joint NOAA and NASA observing program will be conducted using a combination of aircraft expendable profilers (both ocean and atmosphere) deployed from NOAA Hurricane Hunter and NASA Global Hawk research aircraft and a BOEM Lagrangian float experiment in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as part of a long term study of the ocean circulation. These data will be cast within our satellite-based altimetry products of oceanic heat content that is being developed for use in the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme used at the National Hurricane Center for forecasting intensity and structure change through NASA and NOAA support. These products will eventually be assimilated into research and operational dynamical models at the National Centers. Dr. Shay is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.