As the Coastal Resilience Center (CRC) continues its sixth year of projects focusing on protecting communities from coastal hazards, the Center has added new work while completing some projects from Years 1-5. As an addition to previous years’ project work, partners are working to transition their research or education programs beyond the life of the CRC. The Center has added two new projects while completing two others as of July 1, 2020.
CRC, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), currently supports 16 core projects, 11 research and 5 education, as part of its FY2020-21 work.
CRC’s projects are divided into four categories: Coastal Infrastructure Resilience, Building Resilient Communities, Coastal Hazards Modeling and Education & Workforce Development. In the coming year, researchers and educators will focus on the most effective ways to transition research outcomes, tools and guidance to end-users on the federal, state and local levels.
The first new project is led by Dr. Austin Becker of the University of Rhode Island, who was previously a researcher on a project led by Dr. Isaac Ginis. Dr. Clint Dawson of the University of Texas-Austin and Dr. Casey Dietrich of North Carolina State University are now working on a second project with Dr. Don Resio of the University of North Florida, in addition to continuing their existing project from previous years.
Coastal Infrastructure Resilience
Dr. Dan Cox of Oregon State University and Dr. John van de Lindt of Colorado State University lead the CRC’s Coastal Infrastructure Resilience project, “Experimental and Numerical Study to Improve Damage and Loss Estimation Due to Overland Wave and Surge Hazards on Near-Coast Structures: Integration and Validation of Residential Wave/Surge Fragilities for HAZUS-MH and Hindcast Study for Damage and Loss Uncertainty.” The project will continue to focus on improving coastal damage and loss estimation by advancing the fragility calculations used in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s HAZUS-MH model.
Building Resilient Communities
Dr. Phil Berke of UNC-Chapel Hill and Jaimie Masterson of Texas A&M University led the project “Application of Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard™ at the National Scale in Partnership with the American Planning Association.” The researchers will work with the American Planning Association (APA) to integrate the Scorecard into APA outreach and planning tools for its national audience of planning professionals, as well as with other municipal officials involved in long-range planning.
Dr. James Prochaska of URI leads the project “Increasing Personal Preparedness through Computer Tailored Interventions,” which will advance work on applying a behavior change model to assess individuals’ disaster preparedness actions by continuing a population trial of their tailored transtheoretical model.
Dr. Austin Becker, who has worked on several University of Rhode Island-based projects in Years 1-5, leads a new project, “Hazard Consequence Threshold Models for Emergency Management and Response Decision Making.” This work will tie into a modeling project led by Dr. Isaac Ginis, also of URI, by utilizing a hazard consequence modeling system to illustrate the impact of potential hurricanes on coastal infrastructure.
Dr. Robert Twilley of LSU leads the project “Integrating CERA-Planning Software to develop Hazus Modeling and Planning Tool for ADCIRC Prediction System™,” in which he will use the CERA-Planning tool to improve community planning through flood exposure and damage modeling techniques.
Coastal Hazards Modeling
All projects in this category focus on improving the capabilities of the ADCIRC Prediction System™, adding inputs, improving speed and creating a business model for sustained operations. This work is led by Center Lead Investigator Dr. Rick Luettich, founder of APS™.
- Isaac Ginis of URI leads the project “Modeling the Combined Coastal and Inland Hazards from High-Impact Hurricanes,” which advances modeling capabilities by determining impacts on critical coastal infrastructure in the Northeast region.
- Brian Blanton leads the project “Extension of ASGS Operational Awareness Dashboard for ASGS Health Monitoring,” which will improve on a dashboard that monitors high-performance computing resources around the country being used for tropical storm simulations.
- Jason Fleming of Seahorse Coastal Consulting leads the project “Sustainable Real Time Model Guidance,” which aims to transition APS™ into a commercially sustainable system.
- Casey Dietrich of North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Clint Dawson of the University of Texas-Austin will continue to lead the project “Improving the Efficiency of Flooding Predictions via Adaptive Mesh Resolution,” which focuses on technological improvements to coastal flood predictions from the ADCIRC model.
- The project “Accurate and Fast Spectral Wave Modeling and Coupling with ADCIRC” is being led by Clint Dawson of UT-Austin, Dr. Don Resio of the University of North Florida and Dr. Casey Dietrich of NCSU. Researchers will improve upon existing wave modeling capabilities in terms of both accuracy and computational effort in support of coupled wave-storm surge coastal flooding predictions
The modeling project “Development of an Optimized Tide and Hurricane Storm Surge Model for the West Coast of FL for Use Within the ADCIRC Surge Guidance System,” which was led by Dr. Scott Hagen of Louisiana State University (LSU) with co-PIs Dr. Stephen Medeiros of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Dr. Matthew Bilskie (now of the University of Georgia), have released a final report on their work. See a presentation from earlier this year on the results of their work.
Education and Workforce Development
Five active education projects will continue building degree programs intended to diversify the homeland security workforce. They are:
- “PhD in Engineering (Coastal Engineering and Computational Engineering) at an HBCU”: Dr. Robert Whalin has established the first Ph.D. program in coastal and computational engineering at Jackson State University, preparing students to enter the homeland security workforce.
- “Preparing Tomorrow’s Minority Task Force in Coastal Resilience through Interdisciplinary Education, Research and Curriculum Development”: Led by Dr. Ahmed Faik at Johnson C. Smith University, this program has developed an undergraduate program that applies computer science skills toward mitigating coastal hazards.
- “Expanding and Strengthening the Institutionalized Multidisciplinary Certificate: Disaster and Coastal Studies (DCS)”: Dr. Meherun Laiju has established an interdisciplinary minor in disasters and coastal studies at Tougaloo College.
- “Multi-Hazard Capacity Building (MHCB)to Mitigate Risks in Vulnerable Communities in Puerto Rico”: Profs. Ismael Pagán-Trinidad and NEW CO-PIs of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez have created a certificate program in coastal resilient infrastructure to engage students and members of the wider community to transfer professional knowledge to stakeholders through a variety of educational platforms, including internships, workshops, short courses and webinars.
- “Institutionalizing the Graduate Certificate in Disaster Resilient Policy, Engineering and Design”: Dr. Gavin Smith of North Carolina State University leads a graduate program in natural hazards resilience that is open to students from several central North Carolina universities.