Welcome to the CCHT! We develop computational models for wind waves and coastal circulation, and then apply these models to high-resolution simulations of ocean behavior. Our goals are to understand how coastlines are threatened during storms, how materials are transported in the coastal environment, and how to communicate these hazard risks for use in decision support. Our research spans the disciplines of coastal engineering, numerical methods, computational mathematics, and high-performance computing.

In this web site, we share our research progress, from development to application, and from coding to publishing. Learn more about What We Do and how to Join Our Team.

Dynamic Load Balancing for Predictions of Storm Surge and Coastal Flooding

As coastal circulation models have evolved to predict storm-induced flooding, they must include progressively more overland regions that are normally dry, to where now it is possible for more than half of the domain to be needed in none or only some of the computations. While this evolution has improved real-time forecasting and long-term mitigation of coastal flooding, it poses a problem for parallelization in an HPC environment, especially for static paradigms in which the workload is balanced only at the start of the simulation. In this study, a dynamic rebalancing of computational work is developed for a finite-element-based, shallow-water, ocean circulation model of extensive overland flooding. The implementation has a low overhead cost, and we demonstrate a realistic hurricane-forced coastal flooding simulation can achieve peak speed-ups near 45% over the static case, thus operating now at 80−90% efficiency.

KJ Roberts, JC Dietrich, D Wirasaet, WJ Pringle, JJ Westerink (2021). “Dynamic load balancing for predictions of storm surge and coastal flooding.” Environmental Modelling & Software, DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2021.105045.

Johnathan Woodruff wins First Place in Student Presentation Competition

Ph.D. student Johnathan Woodruff won first place in the student presentation competition during the annual Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering Research Symposium. This award is chosen by judges from among all of the student presentations and is reflective of both compelling research activities and excellent presentation skills. The award includes a $500 cash stipend.

Congratulations to Johnathan!

CCHT Ph.D. student Johnathan Woodruff.

Virtual Conference: EWC Symposium 2021

BA Rumbaugh, JC Dietrich. “Impact of storm events on density stratification in the Pamlico and Albemarle Estuarine System.Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering Research Symposium, North Carolina State University, 26 February 2021.

JL Woodruff, JC Dietrich, AB Kennedy, D Wirasaet, D Bolster, Z Silver, S Medlin, RL Kolar. “Finite Element Shallow Water Flow Model with Subgrid Corrections for Efficient Predictions of Storm-Driven Coastal Flooding.Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering Research Symposium, North Carolina State University, 26 February 2021.

Downscaling of Real-Time Coastal Flooding Predictions for Decision Support

During coastal storms, forecasters and researchers use numerical models to predict the magnitude and extent of coastal flooding. These models must represent the large regions that may be affected by a storm, and thus, they can be computationally costly and may not use the highest geospatial resolution. However, predicted flood extents can be downscaled (by increasing resolution) as a post-processing step. Existing downscaling methods use either a static extrapolation of the flooding as a flat surface, or rely on subsequent simulations with nested, full-physics models at higher resolution. This research explores a middle way, in which the downscaling includes simplified physics to improve accuracy. Using results from a state-of-the-art model, we downscale its flood predictions with three methods: (1) static, in which the water surface elevations are extrapolated horizontally until they intersect the ground surface; (2) slopes, in which the gradient of the water surface is used; and (3) head loss, which accounts for energy losses due to land cover characteristics. The downscaling methods are then evaluated for forecasts and hindcasts of Hurricane Florence (2018), which caused widespread flooding in North Carolina. The static and slopes methods tend to over-estimate the flood extents. However, the head loss method generates a downscaled flooding extent that is a close match to the predictions from a higher-resolution, full-physics model. These results are encouraging for the use of these downscaling methods to support decision-making during coastal storms.

CA Rucker, N Tull, JC Dietrich, TE Langan, H Mitasova, BO Blanton, JG Fleming, RA Luettich Jr (2021). “Downscaling of Real-Time Coastal Flooding Predictions for Decision Support.” Natural Hazards, DOI: 10.1007/s11069-021-04634-8.

Conference: ASBPA Coastal Conference 2020

Use of NetCDF-Formatted Wind Fields from OWI in ADCIRC

This new OWI file format was developed by Alex Crosby and his team at Oceanweather Inc. Most of the ADCIRC code to handle these new input files was implemented by Casey Dietrich.

ADCIRC has now been updated to allow the usage of NetCDF-formatted atmospheric fields from Oceanweather Inc. (OWI). In this new format, the surface pressure and wind fields have flexibility to represent different storms with different fields, to track storms with moving fields, and to vary resolution of the fields in both space and time. These updates have been added to the latest development version of ADCIRC, and they will be available in the next release version. These new fields are read by ADCIRC using the NWS=13 parameter and a new input file.

The following animation shows the use of this new file format in an ADCIRC simulation for the wind fields due to Hurricane Charley (1999). Note that Charley is one of several storms during this period, and each storm is represented by a moving field overlaid on a coarser background field.

In the rest of this page, we describe the new input file format, how it is used in ADCIRC, and then provide a set of example files.

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Johnathan Woodruff wins Student Educational Award

Ph.D. student Johnathan Woodruff won the Student Educational Award from the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. This award is given annually to an undergraduate or graduate student who, through his or her research, is furthering the state of science of coastal systems as it relates to the goals and mission of the ASBPA. The award includes a $500 cash stipend. Johnathan wil attend the ASBPA National Coastal Conference next week to present his findings to the coastal community.

CCHT Ph.D. student Johnathan Woodruff.