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MAPP investigator wins NSF CAREER award to continue drought research


Dr. Paul Miller, a member of the MAPP Drought Task Force, was awarded the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award for his research on understanding the mechanisms leading to early warning of meteorological and hydrological drought in the U.S. Caribbean. He is a co-investigator on a project led by Dr. Thomas Mote from the University of Georgia.

The NOAA MAPP project focused on the relationship between the dust-laden Saharan Air Layer (SAL) and rapidly developing drought conditions in the U.S. Caribbean. Dr. Miller and the team found that the tools used to identify the SAL in atmospheric reanalyses, though effective, do not explicitly consider the presence of dust. This led him to the question, “How important is the dust to the SAL-drought relationship?”

The CAREER proposal is centered on that question, and seeks to diagnose the dust’s role in influencing the SAL shape and movement as it transits the Atlantic via its well-known interactions with solar radiation. It will also establish how these same dust-radiation interactions may promote rapid-onset drought once the SAL arrives, further examining the potentially integral role of the dust in Caribbean drought initiation.

Dr. Miller’s CAREER award highlights the broader impacts of NOAA’s investments in the scientific community through the MAPP program and serves as a testament to the far-reaching implications of NOAA research.

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