Alireza Gharagozlou defends PhD Dissertation

We gathered again for a successful defense! Alireza Gharagozlou defended his PhD dissertation to a mix of virtual and in-person attendees, who asked a lot of great questions about his research in modeling of storm-driven erosion in the Outer Banks. Congrats to Alireza!

Alireza starts his oral defense presentation.

Multi-Hazard Hurricane Vulnerability Model to Enable Resilience-Informed Decision

Hurricanes or typhoons are multi-hazard events that usually result in strong winds, storm surge, waves, and debris flow. A community-level multi-hazard hurricane risk analysis approach is proposed herein to account for the combined impacts of hazards driven by hurricanes including surge, wave, and wind. A tightly coupled ADCIRC and SWAN model is used to account for the surge and wave hazard. Community-level exposure analysis is conducted using a portfolio of building archetypes associated with each hazard. A building-level hurricane vulnerability model is developed using fragility functions to account for content, building envelope, and structural damage. These fragility functions calculate the exceedance probability of predefined damage states associated with each hazard. Then, a building damage state is calculated based on the maximum probability of being in each damage state corresponding to each hazard. The proposed hurricane risk model is then applied to Waveland, Mississippi, a community that was severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The main contribution of this research is modeling the community-level hurricane vulnerability in terms of damage to the building envelope and interior contents driven by surge, wave, and wind using fragility functions to provide a comprehensive model for resilience-informed decision-making.

OM Nofal, JW van de Lindt, G Yan, S Hamideh, JC Dietrich (2021). “Multi-Hazard Hurricane Vulnerability Model to Enable Resilience-Informed Decision.” Proceedings of International Structural Engineering and Construction, S El-Baradei, A Abodonya, A Singh, S Yazdani (eds.), 8(1), DOI: 10.14455/ISEC.2021.8(1).RAD-01.

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, 140, 105045, DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2021.105045.

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, 107, 1341-1369, DOI: 10.1007/s11069-021-04634-8.