Sep 152005
 
Authors: Elena Ulyanova

Former CSU professor William Gray is a hurricane expert. He focuses on tropical storm intensity change, and his research interests include tropical cyclones, tropical meteorology and seasonal weather prediction.

In the early 1980s he flew into storms to collect governmental data. He has traveled all over the world to study hurricanes.

His achievements have not gone unnoticed. Gray has been recognized for his achievements as ABC television's "person of the week." He also received the Neil Frank Award of the National Hurricane Conference "for pioneering research into long-range hurricane forecasting and for developing a better understanding of how global climatological conditions shape the creation and intensity of tropical cyclones."

No longer a formal lecture professor, Gray still continues to interact with students. He also still works in his office in the Atmospheric Science building on Foothills campus and writes seasonal hurricane forecast reports.

"I hope to keep going either until I die or three-fourths of my Ph. D. students tell me that I'm senile," Gray said.

The atmospheric science graduate program at CSU is among the best in the world, and Gray said his greatest accomplishment has been the 50 graduate students and 20 doctorate students that he graduated.

"I have spent a lot of time one-on-one with students. I have turned out some of the best in the field. My contributions are the greatest in that region," Gray said.

Phil Klotzbach, research associate, described Gray as a great mentor, professor and advisor.

"He's been in the field forever. Its cool to work with somebody who has that much experience," Klotzbach said.

Gray said he doesn't believe in human-induced global warming. He said that mankind makes small contributions to it, but it is mostly happens from natural causes.

On the topic of Hurricane Katrina, Gray said it was a very intense, unusual storm that was very big in width.

"It's the worst natural disaster to ever hit the U.S. in terms of affecting peoples' lives," he said.

He based this statement on the economic factors created by excessive flooding and the dislocation of civilians in the area.

Approximately 2,000 articles all over the country featured Gray in just the past year, said Brad Bohlander, CSU media-relations manager and university spokesperson.

Although Gray generates a lot of media attention, it was never his intention.

"He certainly is no media hound; he puts up with us. He is a truly a great guy as researcher and as an individual. He is one of my favorite people on this campus," Bohlander said.

Gray came to the CSU Atmospheric Science department in 1961 and has a bachelor's degree in geography from George Washington University, a master's degree in meteorology and a doctorate in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago.

He has two daughters, one son and one grandchild. He also enjoys following sports and calls himself a history buff. However, the sign hung on his office door that reads "Be Hurricane Prepared" easily describes his lifelong endeavors.

"I just want to know that I fought the good fight for an important cause," Gray said.

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