Developing Storm Surge Visualization

2014/10/29 – NC Sea Grant Coastwatch Currents
Picture This: Developing Storm Surge Visualization

When a tropical storm or hurricane develops in the open ocean, the National Hurricane Center, known as NHC, issues advisories that anticipate the track and intensity of the wind field. These advisories predict when and where the hurricane is expected to make landfall, even when the storm is far away from the coast.

This information serves as an input for the ocean model, which then predicts the water levels or storm surges, and wave heights created by these winds at various locations along our coastline for the coming days. These results will convey a greater meaning to the end user when visualized properly. The chief objective for our project is to improve the communication of these model outputs to the end-user by producing them in popular file formats like that of GIS based shapefiles and KMZ files used in Google Earth.

Seminar: WRCEE

JC Dietrich, R Cyriac, RA Luettich Jr, JG Fleming, BO Blanton. “Hurricane Wave and Storm Surge Forecasting for the Carolina Coast.” WRCEE Seminar Series, NC State University, 26 September 2014.

Seminar: Triangle Physical Oceanography

JC Dietrich, R Cyriac, RA Luettich Jr, JG Fleming, BO Blanton. “Hurricane Wave and Storm Surge Forecasting for the Carolina Coast.” Triangle Physical Oceanography Lecture Series, North Carolina, 23 September 2014.

Dept. of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

The following video explains some of our work in the CCEE Department at North Carolina State University, specifically in the focus area of water resources, coastal and environmental engineering.


Sea Change

2014/05/28 – NC State Engineering Magazine
Working with one of North Carolina’s most valuable resources

Dietrich came to NC State with a wealth of experience in coastal modeling, most of it done along the Gulf Coast of the United States. He will soon begin a project with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to model North Carolina’s coast.

Dietrich is part of a research community using a computer model called ADCIRC to predict everything from storm surge and flooding to the feasibility of dredging, or where material floating in the ocean might end up.

When a hurricane is bearing down on the coastline, running the models quickly is of the essence. But the faster the model runs, the less accurate it is. Improving the models so that the time and accuracy trade-off isn’t as sharp is part of Dietrich’s work.

So is figuring out the best ways to visualize the results and get the modeling information to local emergency management officials along the coast so that they can use it.

“It doesn’t help anybody if we are doing this in an empty room somewhere and not sharing the results with the community and sharing them in a way that will maximize their use and maximize their impact,” he said.

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