Ocean remote sensing and tsunami detection topic of URI Vetlesen lecture, April 5

GuerinCharles-Antoine Guérin, a French scientist who is a Distinguished Visiting International Scholar at the University of Rhode Island, will give a lecture next month about detecting tsunamis with radars.

His presentation Wednesday, April 5 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Graduate School of Oceanography is part of the University’s annual Vetlesen Distinguished Speaker Series. The event, free and open to the public, will be held in the Coastal Institute Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett.

In his talk, “Ocean Remote Sensing with HF Radars and Application to Tsunami Detection,” Guérin, also a Fulbright scholar, will talk about his research on tsunami detection using high frequency radar. At URI, he is working with Stephan Grilli, a professor of ocean engineering in the College of Engineering.

Radar remote sensing is a powerful way to study the ocean surface. The so-called “oceanographic radars” are shore-based remote sensing systems that work in high frequency to monitor ocean currents and waves.

They can provide real-time maps of ocean surface currents over large areas, up to several hundred miles from shore. Today, these radars are routinely used to examine coastal oceanic circulation.

Oceanographic radars also serve another purpose: early detection of tsunamis. In his lecture, Guérin will talk about measuring ocean currents and tsunami detection and discuss a technique developed at URI to improve tsunami detection with oceanographic radars.

In France, Guérin is a professor at the University of Toulon and with the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography, or MIO, a French research laboratory involved in oceanographic research.

He has a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Aix-Marseille and a master of science from the National School of Space and Aeronautic Engineering in Toulouse.

An internationally renowned expert in the modeling of ocean radar remote sensing, Guérin has been developing models for the description of the sea surface and its interaction with electromagnetic waves.

Other Vetlesen lectures will be held throughout the year.

The lecture series is sponsored by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, presented by URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, and coordinated by Brian Heikes, URI professor of oceanography.

Since its founding in 1955, the Vetlesen Foundation has advanced prominent oceanographic and earth science institutions in the United States. The foundation provides grants totaling $5 to $7 million annually to various institutions.

The foundation also gives out the Vetlesen Prize, which is awarded biennially for scientific achievement that results in a clearer understanding of the Earth, its history or its relations to the universe. Known as the “Nobel Prize of the earth sciences,” the international award is regarded as one of the highest honors an earth, oceanographic or atmospheric scientist can receive.

Media Contact:

Elizabeth Rau