Modeling Storm Surges and Waves
Dr. Casey Dietrich and his Coastal & Computational Hydraulics Team (CCHT) develop and validate high-resolution models for hurricane waves and storm surges along the Gulf and North Carolina coasts. These models use unstructured, finite-element meshes to describe the ocean, continental shelf, coastline, floodplains and channels over a range of spatial scales. Their models have been used for levee design by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, floodplain risk assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and forecasts of oil transport following the BP spill in 2010.
The CCHT uses computational resources from the OIT HPC services to develop and test models for coastal hazards along the North Carolina coast. The team contributes to daily forecasts of water levels, waves, and flooding, including during Hurricanes Arthur (2014, shown above) and Matthew (2016). This forecast guidance is then shared with partners in NC Emergency Management. Current projects include model development for density-driven flows in estuaries, storm-driven changes to beaches and dunes, and downscaling of forecast guidance for decision support.