Awards & Recognition

Jonathan Merage Helps Meteorologists

Jonathan Merage has recently boosted his continued donations to the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s Science and School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology with a $200,000 donation. Merage has been in partnership with the school for six years and has funded research that can potentially improve storm forecasting. His latest gifts will bring the total he has given to the school to more than $800,000.

“It’s been a privilege to be able to work together with the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology scientists and students…”

Jonathan Merage

Jonathan Merage has a passion for severe weather phenomena and is expanding his support to help meteorologists better understand the structures and processes of destructive supercell thunderstorms and the role terrain can play in the generation of mesocyclones, persistent, rotating updrafts that characterize supercell thunderstorms and a precursor to most deadly tornadoes.

“The overarching goal of Merage’s support is to improve forecasting of supercell thunderstorms, through careful deployment of novel observing systems, through analytical work to see what factors are important, and then through application of a numerical model with idealized terrain to evaluate these factors,” said Steven Businger, professor in the UH-Mānoa Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the projects’ lead.

The other new grant Merage funded takes a novel approach to studying supercells by analyzing the isotopic composition of rainwater. By measuring the changing chemistry in supercells, scientists hope to trace the history and intrinsic properties of air currents as they traverse through different areas of the storm. Data collected by the team in May will be used to investigate how wind shear evolves and eventually leads to tornado genesis.

“I have always been fascinated by supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes, and it’s been a privilege to be able to work together with (School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology) scientists and students in conducting research in the field and furthering our mutual interests,” Merage said in the press release.

Read the full Kauai Now article here.

Photo Credit: University of Hawaiʻi