Parting the Red Sea

Contents: The Paper, Media Coverage, Funding, Weatherwise, Book, NEASB.

The Scientific Paper

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 OpenSky
This modeling study applies to the biblical Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, as described in Exodus 14.

Coverage by the News Media

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.

UCAR Communications
Boulder Daily Camera
ABC News
New Scientist
Fox 31 Denver - KDVR
Discovery News
CNN - Cable News Network
BBC - British Broadcasting Company
MSNBC - Microsoft National Broadcasting Corporation
Los Angeles Times
NPR - National Public Radio
Sydney Morning Herald
Radio New Zealand September 28th. - Italian Daily
Parting the waters, Part 1: The physics of a land bridge
Parting the waters, Part 2: Carl Drews on wind setdown research
GetReligion blog
TV and radio news clips
Aired 09/22/2010 - 09/23/2010 -
Aired 09/23/2010 - 09/24/2010 -
Aired 09/24/2010 - 09/27/2010 -
Posted 09/20/2010 - 09/23/2010 -
Ingeniøren (in Danish)
Toronto Star
Daily Telegraph (United Kingdom)
Science 2.0
France 24 - AFP
Infoniac (in Russian)
UCAR Staff Notes
Guardian Weekly
Edmonton Sun

Funding for This Research

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:

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.

Weatherwise magazine

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 .

Migdol Book

In October 2014 I published a book that presents my Red Sea research to a general audience. The book explains the science of wind setdown and examines the historical context of the Exodus. To leave the NCAR/UCAR domain and find out more information, please visit: Between Migdol and the Sea: Crossing the Red Sea with Faith and Science.

Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin

In December 2015 I published a peer-reviewed paper in the Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin. The article Examining Exodus 14 with the Geosciences presents the historical and geographical context for my proposed crossing site across the Lake of Tanis in the eastern Nile delta in 1250 BC.

Return to my Staff page.

Last update: April 20, 2020.