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.