January 10, 2020:
“Computer Modeling and Weather Forecasting? Yes!!”
Dr. Steve Caparotta
Public perception often falls shy of reality when it comes to weather forecast accuracy. Numerous studies have found steady improvement over the last several decades using a number of metrics, with the rate of improvement accelerating in recent years. Hurricane forecast tracks are now more accurate at 72 hours than they were at 24 hours in 1980. Five-day weather forecasts are now as accurate as a one-day forecast was 40 years ago. Accurate forecasts are driven by improvements in computer modeling, a field known as numerical weather prediction (NWP). Friday's presentation will delve into some of these improvements in NWP, including a look at the increased accuracy of hurricane forecasts and the increased warning time for tornado-producing storms. The presentation will also include a couple of recent case studies in Louisiana focusing on Hurricane Barry and Post-Tropical Storm Olga, where forecasts fell shy of expected accuracy, leading to fewer-than-expected impacts with Barry, but greater-than-expected impacts for Olga.
Meteorologist Steve Caparotta was born and raised in the New Orleans area. His fascination with weather began at an early age, tracking tropical storms and hurricanes on paper tracking maps.
Steve graduated from Brother Martin High School in New Orleans and then went on to earn a B.S. in Meteorology from the University of South Alabama. While in college, he spent his summers interning at WVUE-TV in New Orleans, where mentors Bob Breck and Ken Aucoin encouraged him to pursue a career in television. He landed his first job in TV at KPLC in Lake Charles. From there, he spent a couple of years at WIS-TV in Columbia, SC before moving to Baton Rouge to take a job with WAFB in 2003.
Since joining WAFB, Steve has covered numerous big weather events from hurricanes to floods to tornadoes and ice storms. His "NOPD Looting" story from the aftermath of Katrina earned him an AP award. He also went through the eyewalls of Hurricane Ivan (2004) near Gulf Shores, AL, and Hurricane Rita (2005), in Lake Charles, while covering the storms for the station. He was awarded the Best Weathercast in Louisiana in 2009 by the Associated Press and has been a finalist for that same award several other times. He's also a 4-time Suncoast Emmy nominee.
The move to Baton Rouge also gave Steve the opportunity to further his education. He earned a Master's in Geography (Climatology) in 2008 from LSU, researching how something known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) impacts tropical cyclone frequencies. More recently, he earned a Ph.D. in Geography (Climatology) from LSU in 2018, examining how the MJO interacts with winter low pressure systems, severe weather, and daily precipitation in and around the Gulf of Mexico.
Most of his free time is spent with his wife, Christy, and their 2 daughters, Eliana and Clara. When not enjoying time with his family, you'll likely find Steve parked in front of the TV watching sports.
Steve holds the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) seal from the American Meteorological Society.
THE BATON ROUGE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
BRGS generally meets the second Friday of the month
Meals begins at 11:30 a.m. Talk begins at 12:00 p.m.
Mike Anderson Seafood Restaurant, located at 1031 West Lee Drive
Cost is $20 for members and $25 non-members, and $5 for students.