October 2, 2018 CIMAS

Grant Rawson has been working at CIMAS since May of 2003 after receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami. Currently, Grant works as part of NOAA/AOML-CariCOOS Glider Project, which deploys, pilots, recovers, and maintains a fleet of 5 Seagliders . The Seagliders collect data on temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen to a depth of 1,000 meters in the Caribbean Sea and Tropical North Atlantic during the Atlantic hurricane season which runs June 1 to December 1 each year.  The data collected and transmitted back to scientists are especially useful for improving hurricane intensity forecasts, by providing valuable data on the temperature and salinity in the water column before, during and after a hurricane.  Intensity forecasts have seen less improvement in the past 30 years compared to track forecasts, and Seagliders are one tool being used to improve those forecasts.  Studies have shown that implementing observational data like that collected from the Seagliders can improve the intensity forecast by up to 50%.

Both of Grant’s parents are marine geologists, so he grew up with a love for the ocean. Knowing the work he is doing is pushing the world forward keeps his passion alive. While deploying the seagliders on research cruises, NOAA partners with students from the University of Puerto Rico to extend them the opportunity to meet scientists and expand their research experience. For ways non-scientists can get involved, Grant urges citizens to contact their local representatives about the importance of research. Specifically, in regards to hurricane research which is a major local concern.