STT = St. Thomas Campus,
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
STX = Albert A. Sheen Campus,
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
STJ = St. John Academic Center,
St. John, US Virgin Islands
Professor of Physics
College of Science and Mathematics
Dr. David J Smith is the principle investigator of the VI-EPSCoR-sponsored Virgin Islands Microscale Weather Modeling (VIMWM) incubator project - a project that seeks to establish viable local weather forecasts for the US Virgin Islands and eventually for neighboring islands as well. UVI's computing cluster is presently being replaced with funds from a Title III grant and should be operational by the beginning of 2013. The new cluster will be used by many CSM faculty and students for high performance computing in a variety of research areas. The WRF forecast model will be installed on the cluster to generate microscale (< 1.0 km) forecasts for the Virgin Islands region.
A closely related project, VI-EPSCoR-sponsored Measuring Near-Shore Bulk Sea Temperatures, has recently completed a nearly two-year run of collecting near-shore bulk sea temperatures around St. Thomas. This data, along with far-shore bulk temperatures derived from concurrent satellite images, will be utilized to produce an algorithm which will allow the near-shore bulk sea surface temperatures to be determined more accurately from the real-time satellite data. The improved near-shore temperatures will be incorporated into the local forecast model to improve calculation of evaporation rates, which are critical to accurate forecasting.
The Microscale Weather Modeling project (originally funded by VIEPSCoR) seeks to establish specific weather predictions initially for the US Virgin Islands and eventually for other Caribbean islands. The project will use the internationally recognized weather-modeling program, Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF), running on UVI's new 120-core computer cluster. The cluster is funded by SAFRA. The WRF model will generate daily local weather predictions on the sub-kilometer scale. UVI students may become involved through outreach to the local schools, in running and modifying the model, and designing a public web presence.