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A publication that identifies top scholarship by scientific researchers has given prominent recognition to Robert E. Tuleya, a tropical storm modeling expert who is an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University's Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography.

Essential Science Indicators, a service of Thomson Scientific, places a paper written by Tuleya and Thomas R. Knutson as No. 2 on its list of Top 20 papers about tropical storms published between January 2004 and February 2006. The rating is based on number of times the article has been cited in other research publications.

"Impact of CO2-induced warming on simulated hurricane intensity and precipitation: Sensitivity to the choice of climate model and convective parameterization" appeared in Journal of Climate in 2004 and has been cited in 12 other research papers. Knutson works at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, where Tuleya also worked before retiring and joining the ODU faculty in 2003.

Also under the subject of tropical storms, the July release of Essential Science Indicators tabs Tuleya as fourth on its Top 20 list of authors, as determined by total citations from 1996 through February 2006. He was an author of 12 papers during that period that were cited a total of 240 times.

"Professor Tuleya's scientific papers are receiving the attention of the international science community and providing new insights to the complex nature of
hurricanes," said Larry P. Atkinson, the ODU eminent professor and Samuel and Fay Slover Professor of Oceanography who founded and is the former director of the university's Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography.

The latest rankings reinforce Tuleya's reputation as a leading voice in tropical storm research at a time when his field is producing more papers and getting more attention than ever. Recent increases in tropical storm activity, especially during the 2005 season, have fueled the debate about the effect of greenhouse gases on climate.

Tuleya and Knutson conclude in their 2004 paper in Journal of Climate that their findings related to CO2-induced warming and simulated hurricane intensity lend support to scenarios predicting that greenhouse gas buildup will increase storm wind strength and precipitation.

Their research does not necessarily link recent storms to CO2-induced global warming, but suggests that with greenhouse gas buildup during this century, "the upper limits on tropical cyclone intensity imposed by the thermodynamic environment will be altered in such a way as to allow for tropical cyclones with greater precipitation rates and higher intensity (by roughly half a category in our idealized calculations) than occur in the present climate."

Tuleya is outspoken in his belief that a possible relationship between hurricanes and climate adds a new wrinkle to the problem of unabated coastal development in vulnerable places.

Tuleya's scholarship has brought him numerous interview requests from news reporters covering global warming and climate change. During the past two years he has been quoted in dozens of newspapers, including The New York Times, International Herald Tribune and The Washington Post.

In 1998, Tuleya, Knutson and another colleague, Yoshio Kurihara, published an article in the journal Science that laid the framework for the 2004 article. The latter article reports more comprehensive findings based on simulations using multiple climate models.

Tuleya had a role in helped developing one of today's most trusted hurricane prediction models, the GFDL model, which is named for the laboratory where he once worked. More recently, he has worked with the National Weather Service and several federal agencies in conjuction with other faculty in ODU's Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and with other universities and with several federal agenciesincluding the National Weather Serviceto develop the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting system to improve hurricane forecasts up to five days in advance.

This article was posted on: August 1, 2006

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