News: Preparing for a Changing Climate

2023/01/11 – UDaily, University of Delaware
UD civil engineers lead research to examine models for coastal readiness at U.S. military bases

University of Delaware civil engineers are leading a multi-institutional effort to identify the best models to calculate flood risk at coastal military installations where climate change threatens to increase the risk of flood damage from sea level rise and storm surge.

The four-year project, which launched in mid-2022 and will run through spring 2025, is funded by a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Project partners include faculty and students from the Netherlands, North Carolina State University, the University of South Alabama, Texas A&M and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

“The goal is to provide guidance to the DoD about the strengths and weaknesses of each model in comparison. They’re all going to have things they’re good with and things they struggle with,” Dietrich said. Those comparisons will help the agencies decide what types of models they want to use to get what types of information — depending on how much time, effort and funding they want to commit.

There’s also a goal of reducing cost and building smarter models, he said.

“If we are able to improve our predictions at very specific sites along the coast, we also can have better predictions at other specific sites along the coast, like someone’s house or a bridge or other infrastructure,” Dietrich said.

News: Jessica Gorski Featured in Lenovo Video

2021/11/15 – Intel + Lenovo
Coastal Computing

Our research into real-time erosion predictions using XBeach was featured in a recent video by Lenovo and CNN. Jessica Gorski describes how we are exploring the use of 1D transect models to predict erosion during storms.

Lenovo provides hardware and support for the HPC services at NC State. The video was produced as branded content for CNN, and it was featured on the CNN web site and social media.

The video required two days of shooting with a team of directors, photographers, audio specialists, and production assistants. Click below to see photos of the production.

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News: Coastal Resilience and Sustainability Initiative

2021/09/15 – NCSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Catalyzing Coastal Change

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Casey Dietrich, associate professor in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, is also a member of CRSI’s leadership team. His expertise in the prediction of coastal hazards, will help the initiative further research on determining how coastal environments respond to storms. For example, a storm like the recent Hurricane Ida devastated New Orleans’ power grid, and there needs to be some sort of solution for how to solve power issues during and after storms.

“My research team develops computer models to represent how beaches and dunes will be eroded, and which areas will be flooded and for how long,” he said. “It is critical to understand how these hazards can vary, both across complex coasts like in North Carolina for now and in the future, as a step toward improving resiliency and sustainability for coastal regions.”

The interdisciplinary nature of the team’s work, however, cannot be overstated. Solutions to one coastal challenge, like a seawall to mitigate flooding, may create new challenges or unintended consequences to the environment, tourism, energy and water systems. The varied issues facing coastal areas necessitate connecting across disciplines to develop integrated solutions.

News: CCHT Leads a Core Research Project for NC Sea Grant

2020/01/17 – NC Sea Grant News
NC Sea Grant Announces 2020–2022 Core Research Projects

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North Carolina Sea Grant’s core research projects for 2020 to 2022 will apply innovative approaches to coastal issues. Research teams across the state are starting new studies on coastal resilience, climate change, flooding, shellfish and aquaculture, environmental literacy and more.

“Our core research examines real-world needs of our coastal communities and ecosystems,” says Susan White, executive director of North Carolina Sea Grant. “We are pleased to have so many multidisciplinary collaborations that address our program’s strategic focus areas.”

News: Connecting Erosion to Flooding

2019/09/26 – NC Sea Grant Coastwatch
XBeach Model Predicts Storm Impacts on Beaches and Dunes

Alireza Gharagozlou (below) is a doctoral student in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at NC State University. He studies how to connect predictions of beach and dune erosion to community-wide flooding and serves with Casey Dietrich on NC State’s Coastal & Computational Hydraulics Team. North Carolina Sea Grant has supported their work.

Alireza surveying the beach profile near Hatteras, NC, with RTK-GPS after Hurricane Florence.

2019/04/26 – NC Sea Grant Coastwatch Currents
Model Predicts Storm Impacts on Beaches and Dunes

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During storms, strong waves and currents can erode beaches and dunes and create low-lying areas vulnerable to flooding. We use field surveys and a computer model called XBeach to predict this erosion, as well as to understand its interactions with storm-driven flooding of larger regions.

Computer models allow us to see how the storm surge and waves impact the beach over time, and which locations are vulnerable to large-scale damage. Good predictions of such storm impacts help emergency managers take better-informed measures to protect coastal areas. Understanding vulnerabilities also instructs highway access design and residential area planning.

We used the XBeach computer model on more than 30 kilometers of Hatteras Island between Avon and Rodanthe to explore how to connect erosion predictions to larger areas. Could XBeach cover more of the island, yet still provide good erosion predictions at beach and dune scales? And how could we connect erosion predictions to other models for storm surge and flooding?

News: Dietrich Promoted to Associate Professor

2019/06/03 – NCSU Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Faculty Promotions

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We are pleased to announce that we have had several faculty promoted during this year in recognition of their excellent contributions to research and teaching.

Dr. Casey Dietrich was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Dietrich, who leads the Coastal and Computational Hydraulics Team has developed computational models that predict storm surge and coastal flooding. He teaches courses in fluid mechanics and coastal engineering.