Contents: The Paper, Media Coverage, Funding, Weatherwise.
On August 30, 2010 I published a scientific paper in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, with my thesis advisor Dr. Weiqing Han.
"Dynamics of Wind Setdown at Suez and the Eastern Nile Delta", by Carl Drews and Weiqing Han, PLoS ONE, 2010 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012481. link OpenSkyThis modeling study applies to the biblical Moses parting the Red Sea, as described in Exodus 14.
Although the paper was about air-sea dynamics in coastal regions, the historical and biblical connection sparked great interest and international media coverage. The UCAR press release was issued on September 21, 2010, and most of the publicity followed during that same week. Some of the news stories, videos, audios, and blogs are listed below.
Boulder Daily Camerahttp://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_16128420
Fox 31 Denver - KDVRhttp://www.kdvr.com/videobeta/bccbe130-64ba-48d2-bc84-f64f8338cc86/News/Scientists-part-the-Red-Sea-again
CNN - Cable News Networkhttp://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/21/where-did-waters-part-for-moses-not-where-you-think/
BBC - British Broadcasting Companyhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11383620
MSNBC - Microsoft National Broadcasting Corporationhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39286909
Los Angeles Timeshttp://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/21/science/la-sci-red-sea-20100921
NPR - National Public Radiohttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130112925
Sydney Morning Heraldhttp://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/moses-had-help-parting-the-red-sea-20100923-15npa.html
Radio New Zealandhttp://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons September 28th.
Ilsussidiario.net - Italian Dailyhttp://www.ilsussidiario.net/News/Curiosita/2010/9/23/RICERCA-USA-Mose-divise-davvero-le-acque-il-miracolo-possibile-grazie-a-un-forte-vento/1/114793/
YouTubeParting the waters, Part 1: The physics of a land bridge
Parting the waters, Part 2: Carl Drews on wind setdown research
TV and radio news clipsAired 09/22/2010 - 09/23/2010 - http://media.vmsnews.com/MonitoringReports/092310/575702/T036809268/
Aired 09/23/2010 - 09/24/2010 - http://media.vmsnews.com/MonitoringReports/092410/575702/O037118855/
Aired 09/24/2010 - 09/27/2010 - http://media.vmsnews.com/MonitoringReports/092710/575702/A037747052/
Posted 09/20/2010 - 09/23/2010 - http://media.vmsnews.com/MonitoringReports/092810/575702/U038128897/
Ingeniøren (in Danish)http://ing.dk/artikel/112236-computersimulation-afsloerer-saadan-skilte-moses-vandene
Daily Telegraph (United Kingdom)http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8015908/Biblical-parting-of-the-Red-Sea-could-have-happened.html
France 24 - AFPhttp://www.france24.com/en/20100923-moses-had-help-parting-red-sea-study
Infoniac (in Russian)http://www.infoniac.ru/news/Moisei-pereshel-ne-Krasnoe-more.html
UCAR Staff Noteshttp://www2.ucar.edu/staffnotes/news/modeling-study-probes-biblical-mystery
Some correspondents have inquired how this research was funded. The Red Sea study was part of my master's thesis research at the University of Colorado. My primary research interest is typhoon-driven storm surge. The Red Sea investigation was an interesting case study within the larger project. Wind setdown is the opposite of storm surge, but is less well known because it usually poses no danger to lives and property.
My master's thesis research was conducted on my own time, in accordance with the educational assistance policy of my employer, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). "My own time" means evenings, weekends, and lunch hours. You may access the full thesis here: http://gradworks.umi.com/14/68/1468999.html
The PLoS ONE paper acknowledges funding for "tuition and computational support." UCAR pays the tuition for graduate students on full-time staff, and provides computer time for running complex models.
The University of Colorado believes in academic freedom. The faculty encourage graduate students to pick a topic of interest, so long as it requires knowledge and skills within atmospheric and oceanic sciences. I picked storm surge because it interests me, and the Red Sea/Sea of Reeds/Tanis case for the same reason.
The other half of my thesis research was studying typhoon-driven storm surge in the Philippines. I modeled hurricane-force winds striking the greater Manila area, for the purpose of determining which areas of the metro area were in danger of inundation. Saving lives and property is an important part of UCAR's mission. The same data sets, models, scripts, analysis tools, and research techniques were used for all the study cases (Tanis, Manila, Erie, etc.). The Office of Naval Research paid my travel costs to a workshop at UCLA to learn the ROMS model, and to Chicago to present my research on Manila Bay the next summer. I took vacation time for those days. Now that I have earned my master's degree, I hope to obtain funding to calculate storm surge potential in the Philippines, Bangladesh, and the Gulf Coast of the United States.
In the January/February 2011 issue of Weatherwise magazine I published a follow-up article intended for a general audience. Citation: Drews, Carl (2011) "Could Wind Have Parted the Red Sea?", Weatherwise, Volume 64: Issue 1, pages 30-35, DOI: 10.1080/00431672.2011.536122 .
Return to my Staff page.
Last update: June 12, 2012.