21 Who’s Minding the Planet? HEADLINE HURRICANE ZONE Q: What led you to take an interest in atmospheric science? Phil: I guess you could say I was born with a defective weather gene. I have always been obsessed with the weather since I was a kid. I used to ask my parents to print out blank maps of the U.S. so I could draw weather fronts on them and come up with different weather situations which gave Massachusetts (where I grew up) lots of snow! And then when I was five years old in 1985, Hurricane Gloria came through. It didn't do a ton of damage, but enough that I became fascinated by hurricanes. Q: What type of research are you involved with at Colorado State University? Phil: So for the past fifteen years, I've been at CSU doing research in our Atmospheric Science department. At Colorado State we’re well known for our seasonal hurricane predictions. We attempt to predict how active each hurricane season will be before it ramps up. This research was founded by my predecessor who passed away a couple of years ago, Dr. Bill Gray. I’m continuing his research on seasonal forecasting, while also focusing my efforts on tropical cyclones and climate change. Q: You mentioned Colorado State University focuses heavily on seasonal hurricane forecasting. Can you describe what that is and what goes along with this research? Phil: It's always been asked, 'Why are you studying hurricanes in Colorado? …You're not really near any oceans.' And my predecessor, Dr. Gray, used to always say, 'It's because the storm surge can't get you at 5,000 feet.' But anyways - what we try to do with seasonal hurricane forecasting is to predict how active a season is likely to be. Now, we couldn’t say months in advance that on August 26th that Hurricane Harvey was going to hit Texas or something that specific, however what we can forecast with some degree of skill is that ‘the season looks more active than normal’, ‘near normal’ or ‘less active than normal.’ And that's because there tends to be certain sets of conditions that reappear in the atmosphere and in the ocean prior to active seasons. With that said, it only takes that one storm to make it a very active season for a region. Case in point is 1992, where the Atlantic had only one major hurricane that year…It just happened to be Andrew, which was a Category 5 hurricane that devastated South Florida. ABOUT PHIL Phil Klotzbach is a Research Scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Klotzbach has been at CSU for the past seventeen years and was co- author on the Atlantic basin hurricane forecasts with Dr. William Gray through 2005. Since then, he has led the development of two-week forecasts issued during the peak months of the hurricane season. Klotzbach has published over two dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Climate and the Journal of Weather and Forecasting. Phil is also an avid hiker and runner in his spare time, completing eight marathons and five ultra-marathons. On the summit of Mt. Amos in Tasmania in 2016 Academic & Professional BACKGROUND Colorado State University – Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science Colorado State University – M.S. in Atmospheric Science Bridgewater State College – B.S. in Geography • Chair of the World Meteorological Organization’s Seasonal Hurricane Forecasting Panel • International Organizing Committee Member for International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones • Panelist for National Research Council’s Research Associates Program