NOAA Research Grant
Georgia Southern University scientists from the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH) and the College of Science and Technology have been awarded a $130,000 two-year National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research grant, funded through the Georgia Sea Grant program, which will enable an investigation of the evolving risk of hurricane landfalls along Georgia’s coastline. The lead scientist on the project, Dr. Brian Bossak from the Environmental Health Sciences discipline in JPHCOPH, is working with Dr. Mark Welford in the Department of Geology and Geography and a consultant to generate a database of historical tropical cyclone impacts along Georgia’s coast and to map coastal locations with the most frequent hurricane return periods. Survey information and anecdotal reports suggest that complacency regarding hurricane preparedness and a lack of evacuation planning among coastal residents is rampant due to a lack of nearby landfalls in recent years. However, preliminary analysis of historical documentation suggests that Georgia’s coast is susceptible to cycles of very high hurricane landfall activity, and that such cycles have occurred in the past with tremendous damage inflicted on Georgia’s coastal cities and settlements. The scientists aim to generate the most complete digital database of Georgia’s tropical cyclones to date, and use the data to analyze and calculate areas with the highest risk of both landfall frequency and storm intensity. The ultimate objective of the research will be to provide results useful for government officials and coastal managers in evacuation planning and public health preparedness efforts.