Conference: NCBIWA 2016

News: Sea Grant Research Tackles Important Issues

ncsg2016/05/18 – NC Sea Grant Coastwatch Currents
Considering Coastal Questions: Sea Grant Research Tackles Important Issues

Beach erosion during storm events can devastate the natural environment and coastal communities. This research team seeks to improve simulations of coastal flooding in regions where the beach erosion is highly dynamic. Such simulations are used in North Carolina and elsewhere for designing buildings, establishing flood insurance rates, and supporting real-time decisions during storm events.

The research will review effects of hurricanes Isabel and Irene on oceanfront and soundside shorelines for Hatteras Island, as well as how storm-induced flooding pushed inland. New predictions will be strengthened as the data are coupled with a beach-erosion model. The team will share results with local- and state-level partners to show connections not only throughout the island system but also related impacts on mainland communities.

Interactions between Waves, Flooding and Beach Morphology during Storm Events

Our goal is to improve simulations of coastal flooding in regions where the beach morphology is highly dynamic during a storm event. The feedback between waves, surge and morphology must be better linked, specifically through the extension and coupling of state-of-the-art numerical models. Although most morphology models are limited in their geographic extents, we will extend and apply a process-driven model to represent erosion and breaching at larger scales. And, although most wave, surge and morphology models are coupled with one-way communication, we will develop an automated system to map information in both ways. This research will produce modeling technologies that will benefit coastal communities within North Carolina, and we will share these technologies and findings with stakeholders. Simulations of wave propagation and flooding (and specifically the simulations from our models) are used in North Carolina and elsewhere for building design, the establishment of flood insurance rates, and real-time decision support during storm events. These predictions will be strengthened via the proposed tight coupling with a beach morphology model. The resulting modeling system will better represent the nearshore response to storm impacts.

JC Dietrich, MF Overton, RA Luettich Jr. “Interactions between Waves, Flooding and Beach Morphology during Storm Events.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, North Carolina Sea Grant, 2015/07/02, $98,225 (Dietrich: $88,378).

Alireza Gharagozlou

Updated 2017/03/06


PhD Student (Graduate Research Assistant)
Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
North Carolina State University
Mann Hall, Room 428
2501 Stinson Drive
Raleigh NC 27607

I am a PhD student in Coastal Engineering at NC State University. My research interests mainly include coastal hydrodynamics, numerical modeling, and sediment transport. During my masters at the University of Tehran, I worked on morphological modeling methods to speed up the simulation time of coastal erosion and sedimentation near a breakwater.

Currently, I’m involved in the NC Sea Grant project “Interactions between Waves, Flooding and Beach Morphology during Storm Events.” As part of my research, I am modeling the breaching of the Outer Banks during storm events. The goal is to extend the domain and provide a guidance for the entire Hatteras Island. For this purpose we are using XBeach as a morphological modeling tool and ADCIRC+SWAN to model the tides and water circulations during the hurricane. Eventually we will develop a two-way coupled ADCIRC+SWAN and XBeach models so that the wave and tidal boundary condition for the XBeach domain will be provided by ADCIRC computation and after the morphology run, new topography and bathymetry data will be sent back to ADCIRC to continue the simulation.



Ph.D., Civil Engineering

M.S., Civil Engineering (Marine Structures)

  • University of Tehran (Iran), May 2015
  • Research Topic: Hybrid 1D-2D Modeling of Morphological Changes In the Vicinity of Coastal Structures, with Dr. Peyman Badiei

B.S., Civil Engineering



Conference Presentations

  1. JC Dietrich, A Gharagozlou, MF Overton, A Thomas, RA Luettich Jr, JG Fleming, BO Blanton, C Kaiser. “Interactions between Waves, Flooding, and Beach Morphology during Storm Events.” North Carolina Beach, Inlet, & Waterway Association Annual Conference, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, 14-15 November 2016.


  1. A Gharagozlou, JC Dietrich, M Overton, A Karanci “Morphological Modeling of Hatteras Island During Hurricane Isabel” Environmental, Water Resources and Coastal Engineering Research Symposium, North Carolina State University, 3 March 2017.

  2. A Gharagozlou, P Badiei, “1D-2D hybrid modeling of coastal zone near a groyne”, 1st National Congress on Civil engineering, urbanism and sustainable structures, Feb 2015, Tehran, Iran.


Technical Skills

Ocean Models

  • ADCIRC, XBeach, SWAN, Delft3D

Geographic Information Systems

  • ArcGIS, Surface-water Modeling System (SMS), QUICKIN

Structural Analysis and Design Software


Programming Languages




Teaching Assistant (1)

Course Instructor Location Semester
CE 382 Fluid Mechanics JC Dietrich NC State Fall 2015