Kerry Emanuel was born on April 21, 1955. He is an American professor of meteorology (atmospheric science in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences) currently working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. He has specialized in atmospheric convection and the mechanisms acting to intensify hurricanes. He coined the term “hypercane” in 1994. In 2007, he was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. His research group is investigating possible links between global climate and tropical cyclone activity, focusing on the possible role of tropical cyclones in driving oceanic heat fluxes. Other research activities include research on tropical cyclone genesis, environmental control of tropical cyclone intensity, the role of cumulus convection in regulating atmospheric water vapor and clouds, and the development of new techniques for assimilating nonlinear coherent structures into numerical models.
He was named one of the Time 100 influential people of 2006.
In a March 2008 paper published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, he announced he is rethinking his previous conclusion that global warming increases the threat of more hurricane activity than normal. Gabriel Vecchi, of NOAA said of Emanuel’s announcement, “While his results don’t rule out the possibility that global warming has contributed to the recent increase in activity in the Atlantic, they suggest that other factors—possibly in addition to global warming—are likely to have been substantial contributors to the observed increase in activity.”