Math instructor Joy D'Andrea and USF System mascot Rocky.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM instructor helping to predict hurricane paths

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: January 29, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2016) Those spaghetti models that flash across TV screens showing possible hurricane routes might be need to make room for a newcomer.

USF Sarasota-Manatee visiting instructor Joy D’Andrea has been busy developing a new statistical method for analyzing the reams of historical data to predict Atlantic Ocean hurricane paths.

“We went back to 1975,” said D’Andrea, who teamed up for the exercise with USF graduate student Kenneth Baah and Dr. Rebecca Wooten, an assistant professor in USF’s Department of Mathematics & Statistics.

Their findings were published in December in a paper entitled, “Implicit Regression: Detecting Constants and inverse Relationships with Bivariate Random Error.”

Essentially, D’Andrea and Dr. Wooten developed a way of modeling hurricanes by looking at meteorological measures such as storm locations, wind speed and pressure. Then they applied “logistic regression” and atmospheric conditions recorded at fixed locations to tease out probabilities that a storm will appear at a particular time and place.

“You’ll be able to use this to tell you when a storm may form not just tomorrow, but within four days,” she said.

The work can be applied to other natural phenomena as well, such as sink holes and can help calculate population growth trends within certain regions.

D’Andrea has been especially busy since the paper’s publication. The USF graduate student and full-time math instructor at USFSM since 2013 is set to defend her thesis this March to earn her Ph.D in pure mathematics with a concentration in applied statistics.

Plus her work with Dr. Wooten promises to take up even more time. She’s set to deliver an hour-long lecture Feb. 11 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Then she has another talk scheduled later next month at St. Leo University in Pasco County.

She doesn’t mind the lectures, though.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “I love making the public aware of anomalies in the state of Florida so as residents here we can have a better reaction to these phenomena.”

Student Scholarship Reception is set

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s annual Student Scholarship Reception is scheduled for Feb. 11.

This yearly mixer offers scholarship recipients an opportunity to meet and thank donors from across the Sarasota-Manatee region.

The reception begins at 5 p.m. followed by a short program at 5:30 featuring remarks by a couple of scholarship students. The business casual event will be held in the rotunda. Refreshments will be provided.

Plug in, tune out

Two outdoor, solar-powered charging station-tables have been added to the west area of the courtyard next to the barbecue area.

The charging stations come courtesy of Student Government using Capital Improvement Trust Fund fees.

Each table generates “off the grid” power using solar panels to produce 600 watts of continuous power that’s stored in batteries for day or night use.

Included in the tables are four 110-volt outlets, four USB charging outlets and low-level ambient lighting. Components include materials made from recycled plastic.

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