[image-51]Owen Kelley uses space-based and ground-based instruments to study the precipitation cells that hide under the cloud-tops of hurricanes.
Since 1997, Kelley has been a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in affiliation with the Center for Earth Observing
and Space Research (CEOSR) at George Mason University.
Owen's specialty is "hot towers," which are tall rain clouds approximately three miles across. He is curious why hot towers are so intimately connected with a hurricane's intensity, even though a hot tower is tiny in comparison with the area covered by a hurricane's clouds. His early research showed an association between hot towers in the eyewall and short-term intensification of the hurricane's surface winds. More recently, Kelley has used satellite observations and hurricane modeling results to study energy transformations inside of hurricanes, still with an emphasis on hurricane intensity.
Kelley also develops visualization software for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite, launched in 1997 and the Global Precipitation Measuring or GPM satellite to be launched in 2014. Kelley feels that this is an exciting time to study hurricanes because many discoveries are about to be made through frequent, high-resolution observations.
In 2008, Kelley earned his Ph.D. in Computational Sciences from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. In 1993, he earned his undergraduate degree from St. John's College, the "Great Books" school in Annapolis, Maryland.