Public Impact Fellow Scott Sellars is developing a better way to predict precipitation
Scott Sellars was consulting with the South Carolina Ports Authority when he recognized just how important weather data is to the safety and efficiency of the agency’s operations. If the wind blew above 30 knots, the massive mobile cranes used to load and off-load the ships’ cargo would start to roll down the dock, jeopardizing workers, equipment and vessels.
Because the South Carolina coast experiences highly variable weather – including violent thunderstorms, hurricanes and even tornadoes – the Ports Authority had hired Sellars, a meteorologist, to provide up-to-the-minute forecasts. When high winds were anticipated, the cranes could be locked down in a stationary position, minimizing risk.
Today, Sellars is a doctoral candidate in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. He’s attempting to develop a better way to predict precipitation. His research focuses on atmospheric rivers – large plumes of moisture transported from the tropics – affecting the West Coast.