Category: News

ADCIRC Week focuses on comprehensive coastal modeling, 21st-century risk analysis

Meeting for its 21st year, organizers of the ADCIRC Users Group Meeting tried something new – recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to the ADCIRC community.

Nate Dill of Ransom Consulting was named ADCIRC Community Man of the Year 2017, and Dr. Jennifer Proft of the Institute for Computational Engineering Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin was named ADCIRC Community Woman of the Year 2017 at the event, held in early May in Norwood, Mass. Zach Cobell of ARCADIS and Rosemary Cyriac with the Coastal & Computational Hydraulics Team at North Carolina State University were also finalists for the awards.

The community awards were based on individuals’ visibility on the ADCIRC listservs (online communities that discuss coastal modeling issues); leadership, outreach and capacity-building contributions beyond their official job descriptions; and developing, documenting and distributing ADCIRC-related code to the wider community.

Nate Dill, left, and Dr. Jennifer Proft were named ADCIRC Man of the Yea and Woman of the Year during the 2017 ADCIRC Users Group meeting.
Nate Dill, left, and Dr. Jennifer Proft were named ADCIRC Man of the Yea and Woman of the Year during the 2017 ADCIRC Users Group meeting. Photo by Clint Dawson.

The awards were part of ADCIRC Week, held in early May, which consisted of presentations of ADCIRC projects along with interactive discussions to advance the state of the art in ADCIRC modeling.

The event is a way for the ADCIRC community to share experiences, teach, learn, discuss, plan and build capacity for coastal ocean modeling using ADCIRC. The Users Group Meeting was preceded by a three-day ADCIRC Boot Camp for novice users, organized by Dr. Jason Fleming of Seahorse Coastal Consulting. Dr. Fleming is a co-PI on a Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) project led by Dr. Brian Blanton.  The Boot Camp, supported by the CRC, is a mix of lecture, demonstration and interactive discussion focusing on creating, running and analyzing ADCIRC models.

Award nominations were judged by a committee including Drs. Rick Luettich, Joannes Westerink, Clint Dawson, Chris Massey, Casey Dietrich and Fleming. Each winner received artwork made from reclaimed metal depicting mythical creatures that symbolize the duality of technical excellence and community engagement. The Man of the Year Award was a sculpture of a horse with a mane made of seaweed, representing the terrestrial aspect of Poseidon, Greek god of the sea. The Woman of the Year award depicted a mermaid, a hybrid creature with marine and terrestrial elements.

“These were really Lifetime Achievement Awards for Nate and Jennifer,” Dr. Luettich said. “They’ve made substantial contributions to the community for a number of years, and I couldn’t be happier that they have received this recognition.”

Dill was nominated based on his long-standing dedication to answering technical questions on the ADCIRC mailing lists, including taking the time to write software that addresses concerns and technical issues reported by other ADCIRC analysts. His expertise and willingness to sharing code and solutions have benefited newcomers as well as experienced professionals within the ADCIRC community.

Proft has been closely involved in engineering studies with ADCIRC following Hurricane Ike (2008) and has provided ADCIRC training and mentorship to new graduate students at the University of Texas and Rice University. She also leveraged her Ike experience to provide many hours of technical assistance for an investigative journalism piece produced by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune that used ADCIRC extensively. The project, called “Hell and High Water,” won a Peabody Award.

Attendees of the ADCIRC Boot Camp learn the basics of the modeling system during ADCIRC Week. Photo by Jason Fleming.
Attendees of the ADCIRC Boot Camp learn the basics of the modeling system during ADCIRC Week. Photo by Jason Fleming.

Cobell has taken the initiative over the past year to modernize the ADCIRC development process by migrating the code base from a legacy Subversion development system to a repository on GitHub. This new development paradigm improves code management, issue tracking, documentation and developer communication. His other recent contributions include the introduction of a cross-platform build system for ADCIRC on both Windows and Linux, and the implementation of an automated code testing system that will enhance code robustness.

Cyriac has developed, documented, and released an open source program called Kalpana to the ADCIRC Community for use in converting ADCIRC output files to shapefiles that can be used in commonly available GIS systems. Risk analysts and emergency managers generally work within a GIS framework to perform their calculations and make decisions; as a result, the free availability of her software enhances the value of ADCIRC in the wider context of decision support.

Students, professionals learn the basics

ADCIRC, short for the Advanced CIRCulation model, was originally developed by Dr. Luettich, CRC Lead Principal Investigator and a UNC-Chapel Hill professor, and Dr. Westerink of the University of Notre Dame, in the early 1990s and has been undergoing development and improvement since that time . It combines information on tides, river flows, wind, atmospheric pressure and surface waves to predict the response of the coastal ocean, including when, where and to what extent storm surge and flooding will impact a coastal community, often with greater precision than other available models.

Within the CRC, researchers in several ongoing projects are continuing to improve ADCIRC, by adding new sources of water, such as precipitation, and decreasing the computer power needed to run simulations. In recent years, ADCIRC has been used to evaluate coastal flood risk worldwide.

Topics of presentations at the ADCIRC Users Group Meeting included “ADCIRC and the coastal dynamics of sea level rise,” “Development of an optimized tide and hurricane storm surge model for the northern Gulf of Mexico for use with the ASGS,” “Development of high resolution ADCIRC model for the US northeast coast: Challenges, Issues, and Solutions” and “Probabilistic Storm Surge Risk Assessment Using a Synthetic Hurricane Database”

The event also included a GitHub Migration Workshop, an ADCIRC Career Fair and an ASGS Advisory Board formation meeting.

“This was our largest and most comprehensive ADCIRC Boot Camp yet, with attendance up over 50% from previous years,” Fleming said. “Our Boot Camp participants from federal agencies included professionals from NOAA, FEMA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NASA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Our private sector participants included professionals from Bechtel, Moffat & Nichol, RPS ASA, Stantec, AECOM, Risk Management Solutions and Oceanweather. Our internationally-based Boot Camp participants travelled from the UK, Spain and Korea for our training.”

Dr. Luettich said, “We were pleased that the US Coast Guard was able to send a representative to see the ADCIRC Users Group Meeting presentations and to learn more about how ADCIRC’s capabilities can benefit the USCG.”

Attendees of the ADCIRC Users Group Meeting. Photo by Shangyao Nong.
Attendees of the ADCIRC Users Group Meeting. Photo by Shangyao Nong.

Several students also participated in the event, with costs subsidized by the Coastal Resilience Center. Sabrina Welch, a graduate student at Jackson State University who is part of a CRC education project, said the introduction to ADCIRC was a beneficial experience.

“As a new user in the ADCIRC community it is very heartening to know that there are other users out there who can and are willing to offer assistance to fellow users, and also that the developers of this software took the time to organize this event for the benefit of the community,” Welch said. “I had a great experience at the 2017 ADCIRC Week Boot Camp where I was exposed to the vast capabilities of this software, as well as the opportunity to improve my use of ADCIRC.”

How ADCIRC works

ADCIRC predicts the response of the coastal ocean to various forces including tides, river discharge, wind, atmospheric pressure and waves.  It can be used for a variety of applications, including predicting storm surge and flooding due to strong storms such as hurricanes.  ADCIRC can be used to analyze the response due to historical storms, statistical sets of storms for risk analysis and design, hypothetical storms scenarios for planning and for forecasting storm events in real time.

ADCIRC coastal forecasts are currently run on supercomputers at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at UNC-Chapel Hill. Forecast results are displayed using a Louisiana State University (LSU)-based platform, CERA, that projects results onto a map for presentation. In addition, shape files can be downloaded for use with standard GIS applications. During active hurricane events, ADCIRC model runs are initiated every time a new storm forecast is released by the National Hurricane Center. Results using the forecast track and several alternate tracks can be accessed from the adcirc.org website.

Results generated by ADCIRC are used by multiple federal and state agencies to help predict flooding associated with storm surge. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management are among the agencies that factor ADCIRC modeling into their operations.  At the local level, results are shared with coastal emergency managers to assist with decision making including road closings, evacuations and search and rescue operations.

Project integrates storm surge modeling into resilience planning for vulnerable communities

Researchers at Louisiana State University and thousands of residents in south Louisiana are still feeling the effects of historic rain event that hit the area in August 2016. The event brought more than two feet of rain in some areas during the month, with 11 river gauges in the state reporting record flood levels.

Dr. Robert Twilley
Dr. Robert Twilley

A project led by Dr. Robert Twilley of Louisiana State University hopes to help communities adapt planning and response to minimize the impact of future storms that could leave similar damage. Dr. Twilley’s project, “Integrated Approaches to Creating Community Resilience Designs in a Changing Climate,” is aimed at improving resilience in two specific ways; focusing emergency response to better protect vulnerable infrastructure and people, and reducing repetitive loss by giving community planners accurate estimates of infrastructure vulnerability of events that may happen in the future.

His team includes faculty at other Louisiana State University institutions: Director Jeff Carney and Assistant Research Professor Traci Birch of the Coastal Sustainability Studio, Brant Mitchell, Director of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute; and Carola Kaiser of the Center for Computation and Technology. This combination provides end users with experts from the fields of disaster research and response; coastal hazards modeling; planning and design; and outreach from the Louisiana Sea Grant College program (where Dr. Twilley is executive director).

“Communities want clear guidance on what infrastructure and people could be threatened by a tropical storm and/or major rainfall events,” Dr. Twilley said. “Our project integrates coastal modeling tools into community design and planning, and couples it with outreach efforts to emergency managers and land use planners to obtain community-level data about vulnerable infrastructure.”

Researchers will develop pre- and post-disaster planning and adaptation tools for coastal communities to improve resilience. These efforts will enable vulnerable communities to plan, react and recover more quickly and effectively in areas facing repetitive disturbances. They have been incorporating consequence modeling – which creates realistic scenarios for planning before a disaster – into results from CERA, the mapping interface that displays results of the ADCIRC storm surge model to show how flood risks will impact people, industry and coastal infrastructure. Using that tool, project participants will inform community planners on impacts, helping them reduce repetitive loss by updating land use and redevelopment guidelines following flood events.

With trusted sources doing community outreach to emergency managers and planners, researchers hope to mitigate future risks through current action. Building on the strength of each research and outreach center in the partnership, they aim to reach vulnerable populations with flood prediction, protection and response materials.

The resulting CERA-Consequence Model will show how flood risk (both from storms and sea-level rise) will impact people, industry and infrastructure. Utilizing this data, they plan to provide:

  • Planning tools that visualize risks to include hurricane-force winds, storm surge and inland flooding along with vulnerable populations based on socio-economic status
  • Modeling and visualization tools to communicate flood risks during a storm by identifying vulnerable populations and structures that are susceptible to storm surge
  • Post-landfall search and rescue grid system with prioritization based on socio-economic vulnerabilities
  • Methodology for helping community planning departments and recovery planning teams effectively utilize and implement changes to their built environment through effective resilience-based planning.

Dealing with the Consequences

Using consequence modeling, researchers identified what areas of Vermilion Parish, La., are at greatest risk after a hurricane.

The CERA-Consequence Model has so far been used to capture the diversity of coastal infrastructure and assets in the Mississippi River Deltaic Plain (MRDP). Researchers have conducted preliminary analysis of hurricane impact scenarios to capture the diversity of recovery and adaptation needs in the MRDP to determine what data can be used in the model. They will take this data to build an automated model in the CERA mapping platform to interpret ADCIRC Surge Guidance System (ASGS) outputs and analyze community-level impacts of expected storm surge in a new website called “CERA-Planning.”

In the first year of the project, Dr. Twilley and the project team focused on outreach to ensure local, state and federal planners – along with emergency managers – were aware of the project and its potential to influence decision-making and planning processes. Those reached include the State of Louisiana, American Planning Association and the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association, as well as many local and regional emergency management groups, among others.

Proposed modeling products were evaluated at an annual focus group workshop to engage end users directly in the development process. Feedback is now being used to develop integrated approaches on the new CERA-Planning website, for university-based design studio courses and design/outreach entities working in target communities.

Building the database

Researchers also formed a focus group of emergency managers and planners to determine sectors not involved in the data-collection process. Already, the data stream is expected to be large, comprising more than 140,000 data points on infrastructure from the State of Louisiana that serves as the basis for this model. The scope for the project includes possible expansion to communities across the United States, bringing in additional users such as the National Communications Center (NCC). The NCC is responsible for providing situational awareness for all communications infrastructure during tropical cyclones and U.S. Coast Guard–Sector New Orleans.

More than 140,000 data points, shown above, are used to build the model.
More than 140,000 data points, shown above, are used to build the model.

Other additions could include adoption of parcel data and building footprints in the consequence model. Critical infrastructure such as water utilities and sewer treatment plants will be included, as storm surge could disrupt their operations and severely impact a community’s ability to recover.

The original data source for the 140,000 data points on infrastructure across the State was a joint project between SDMI and GOHSEP funded by FEMA.  This data set established the original source of information for the consequence model in this CRC project; initial focus groups worked to prioritize information needed to indicate infrastructure vulnerabilities.

“This information will also be used to prioritize information needed to identify infrastructure vulnerabilities in planning to reduce competitive losses,” Dr. Twilley said.

Students, faculty to exchange for summer research programs

For the second year, the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) will facilitate exchanges between students, faculty and research projects as part of its summer programs.

Eight students from the CRC’s education projects will be hosted by principal investigators (PIs) of research projects as part of the SUMmer Research Experience (SUMREX) Program. As part of the program, CRC Education & Workforce Development partners arrange for one or more students to visit the home institution of participating CRC Research PIs for a summer research internship lasting between six and 10 weeks. Key to the program’s success is making the best match between the student interns and the research PIs, so that the students have the opportunity to become fully immersed in a research project.

The program is already showing success: Felix Santiago, a graduate student in Civil Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, was hosted by Dr. Stephen Medeiros at the University of Central Florida and by Dr. Scott Hagen at Louisiana State University in a cooperative effort. He was recently awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and will continue to work with Dr. Hagen at LSU in 2018.

This year’s pairings are:

  • Sabrina Welch, a PhD candidate in Engineering at Jackson State University, and Diego Delgado, a graduate student in Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, will be hosted first by Dr. Medeiros at the University of Central Florida and later by Dr. Hagen at Louisiana State University.
  • Two students from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, Hector J. Colon and Peter Rivera, both undergraduate students in Engineering, will be hosted by Dr. Dan Cox at Oregon State University.
  • Stephen Kreller, a graduate student in Geography at Louisiana State University, will be hosted by Dr. Brian Blanton at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Three undergraduate students from Tougaloo College will be hosted at the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center: Psychology major Courtney Hill (advised by Pam Rubinoff and Donald Robadue), Biology major Rosalie Cisse (advised by Jan Rines and Lucie Maranda) and Biology major Kierra Jones (advised by Tatiana Rynearson and Stephanie Anderson).

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Southwell joins CNHR as Project Manager

Jessica Southwell has joined the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Natural Hazards Resilience as Project Manager for the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative (Initiative). In this position, she will coordinate the work of the Initiative in six communities in eastern North Carolina that were impacted by Hurricane Matthew, including documenting the Initiative’s progress, reporting to various stakeholders and engaging with targeted communities.

Jessica Southwell
Jessica Southwell

Southwell was formerly a research associate at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her experience includes positions at the UNC Center for Public Health Preparedness, Minnesota Department of Health and Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.

The Initiative, which began earlier this year, addresses recovery and rebuilding issues in six communities: Princeville, Fair Bluff, Seven Springs, Windsor, Kinston and Lumberton.

Three primary efforts of the Initiative include: 1) Studying the impacts of Hurricane Matthew on eastern North Carolina communities; 2) Advising North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and officials at the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management (NCEM) officials on state and federal recovery policies and programs; and 3) Assisting communities develop disaster recovery plans.

“We’re thrilled to have Jessica join the Initiative,” said Dr. Gavin Smith, who leads the Initiative. “Among other things, she will help our team as we work with eastern North Carolina communities to identify unmet needs, find the resources to address these needs, and to work with eastern North Carolina communities to develop and implement plans to become more resilient to future hazards.”

Interdisciplinary program teaches students, community about disaster sciences

At Tougaloo College, an interdisciplinary minor is helping prepare students for careers in homeland security-related fields.

Dr. Meherun Laiju is leading the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) project, “Institutionalization, Expansion, and Enhancement of Interdisciplinary Minor: Disaster and Coastal Studies,” which will expand the role of Geographic Information System (GIS) and other skills and undergraduate research opportunities within the curriculum of an existing Disaster and Coastal Studies minor. The project will also create a certificate program for anyone – whether or not they are enrolled students – looking to broaden their knowledge of community resilience.

“Our goals are three-fold,” Dr. Laiju said. “Train undergraduate students in interdisciplinary skills necessary to mitigate natural and man-made coastal hazards through research, training and coursework; neighborhood outreach initiatives in collaboration with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA); and create a professional certificate program.

Dr. Meherun Laiju (front row, third from left) with Tougaloo College faculty and students in the Disaster and Coastal Studies minor.
Dr. Meherun Laiju (front row, third from left) with Tougaloo College faculty and students in the Disaster and Coastal Studies minor.

“The certificate program will prepare undergraduates to join a workforce related to DHS and emergency management agencies. The neighborhood outreach initiative will offer opportunities for community leaders and interested citizens to be trained as first responders which will help in preparing resilient communities.”

The Disaster and Coastal Studies minor was launched through the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence, the Department of Homeland Security-funded predecessor of the CRC. Faculty members from physics, sociology, psychology and political science departments introduced students to disaster-related research through a variety of fields and are currently working to expand the program.

Students’ careers impacted

Tougaloo College, located in Jackson, Miss., is a private historically black college, and the majority of students are the first generation of their families to attend college. The project will build homeland security capacity for this Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), to build capacity for the future homeland security workforce, and prepare students for graduate schools and research programs in the field of coastal natural disasters, including those that are part of the CRC.

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N.C. students present work on resilience projects

Students from three central North Carolina universities – the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Duke University – met last month at a student-organized event to present and discuss issues tied to resilience, particularly in coastal areas.

Students shared their most memorable hazards experience during the event.
Students shared their most memorable hazards experience during the event.

The Triangle Resilience Student Research Symposium, organized by a student group called the Carolina Hazards and Resilience Planners (CHRP), also brought together researchers from UNC-CH and NCSU, as well as employees from federal agencies. CHRP is a student group started by recent UNC-CH Department of City and Regional Planning graduate Ashton Rohmer, one of three Department of Homeland Security Science & Engineering Workforce Development Grant (WDG) recipients hosted by the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC).

“I was thoroughly impressed with the breadth and quality of the student research projects, and am truly grateful for the valuable insights offered by our panelists,” Rohmer said. “I was especially inspired to see that so many of the presentations and discussions focused on crucial issues related to equity, social vulnerability, and public engagement.

“I hope the event continues in future years as a way to bring researchers and practitioners from the physical and social sciences together – as a way to build Triangle university relationships, highlight student work and address the complexities of professional work in this field, especially given the increasingly challenging political environment and the multitude of climate change impacts we’re seeing.” Read more

‘Scorecard’ guides winners of architecture award

Students at Texas A&M University have won awards for their proposed flood protection measures for vulnerable communities identified through a tool developed by a Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) project.

Graduate student Zixu Qiao and an undergraduate team – Alaina Parker, Molly Morkovsky, Phillip Hammond, Maritza Sanchez and Claudia Pool – were winners of their respective categories for awards determined by the American Society of Landscape Architects – Texas Chapter. The TX-ASLA Honor Awards were announced on April 28, at the group’s annual conference.

An example of flood defense measures suggested in the "Climate Change Armor" proposal.
An example of flood defense measures suggested in the “Climate Change Armor” proposal.

The landscape architecture students are advised with Dr. Galen Newman, a co-Principal Investigator on a CRC project led by Dr. Phil Berke. The students used a resilience scorecard that is the focus of Dr. Berke’s project to envision changes to vulnerable League City, Tex. The scorecard, which is under development, is used to help local planners and emergency managers integrate disaster risk into every element of urban development, so that all plans work together.

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Doctoral engineering program focuses on coastal natural disasters

Students interested in coastal natural disasters can soon pursue specialized concentrations within the doctoral engineering degree program at Jackson State University (JSU).

Through the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) project “PhD in Engineering (Coastal Engineering and Computational Engineering concentrations) at an HBCU,” Principal Investigator Dr. Robert W. Whalin is forming the first PhD Engineering degree concentrations focusing on coastal natural disasters within the Historically Black Colleges and Universities academic community.

Two new concentrations, Coastal Engineering and Computational Engineering, each focusing on hurricanes and floods, will be added to the PhD Engineering degree program at JSU.

Dr. Robert Whalin
Dr. Robert Whalin

Dr. Whalin said the program will prepare new engineering scholars in the field of coastal resilience and will help increase diversity in the greater homeland security enterprise. Building education programs at HBCUs like Jackson State University, where about 90 percent of students identify as African-Americans, can help reverse their underrepresentation in the engineering profession, he said.

“The 15 HBCUs with ABET accredited engineering programs graduate about 1 percent of BS engineers nationwide while graduating about 22% of African-American BS engineers nationwide,” Dr. Whalin said. “If the nation has any expectation of successfully addressing the underrepresentation of African-American engineers, the solution must strongly depend on increasing engineering programs and graduates at HBCUs.”

The Computational Engineering concentration is already listed in the school’s graduate catalog, while the Coastal Engineering concentration is expected to be added this year. Four current graduate students plan to enroll in the Coastal Engineering concentration immediately after its launch, Dr. Whalin said, and the program’s first graduate is expected in 2018 or 2019. After that, the program is projected to graduate about one to three doctoral students annually.

Strengthening Engineering at JSU

The doctoral engineering project builds off undergraduate and graduate coastal natural disaster focused courses and concentrations Dr. Whalin developed through the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence, a DHS Science & Technology Directorate Office of University Programs-funded center that preceded the CRC.

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Student from CRC program receives Distinguished Dissertation honor

Dr. Sierra Woodruff, who will graduate this spring from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was recognized for her outstanding PhD work on climate change adaptation planning.

Woodruff received the 2017 Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award in Social Sciences from the Graduate School at UNC-CH. Her dissertation was titled “Climate Change Adaptation in the United States.”

Sierra Woodruff (Photo by Kristin Prelipp)
Sierra Woodruff (Photo by Kristin Prelipp)

While pursuing her Ph.D., Woodruff was a student in a Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) education program at UNC, a graduate certificate in natural hazards resilience. She served as a Department of Homeland Security Office of University Programs Graduate Student Climate Preparedness Intern in Washington, D.C., in 2014, working with the White House on the President’s national climate change policy. CRC Principal Investigator Dr. Phil Berke and Center Director Dr. Gavin Smith served on her PhD committee. Read more

Coastal Resilience Center project to utilize cloud computing award to simulate storm impacts

Researchers on a Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) project at the University of Rhode Island will have the resources of a major cloud-computing technology to improve the safety of coastal communities.

Dr. Isaac Ginis
Dr. Isaac Ginis

Dr. Isaac Ginis recently received a Microsoft Azure Research Award, a one-year grant that allows his project team to utilize cloud computing technology to develop models and other three-dimensional visualization products most useful for use by emergency managers, first responders and other professionals.

Dr. Ginis’s project, “Modeling the combined coastal and inland hazards from high-impact hypothetical hurricanes,” includes the development of an advanced, multi-modal ensemble system used for realistic computer simulations of hurricane hazards and impacts. Researchers on the project simulate high-impact historical and hypothetical worst-case scenarios by combining multiple hazards elements – including wind, waves and coastal flooding due to storm surge. They are working with Hurricane Rhody, a hypothetical storm that would directly impact Rhode Island.

Microsoft’s Azure is an integrated cloud computing service used to manage applications through a global network of datacenters. The use of Microsoft cloud computing resources will allow development of end-to-end model simulations capable of representing extreme hurricanes with higher visual resolutions and in more specific time increments. Resources will be used to develop models and 3D simulations at all levels of government, and in the private sector. Read more