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.
Coastal Science Serves North Carolina: Sea Grant Funds New Research Projects
Using a high-resolution modeling system, the researchers will expand the utility and accuracy of wave, storm-surge and flooding forecast guidance available to emergency managers in North Carolina. The accurate prediction of these elements is essential for the safety of people and property.
for analysis in this paper. Results show that water surface elevations present in Galveston Bay are dominated by the counterclockwise hurricane winds and that increasing wind speeds by 15% results in approximately 23% (+/−3%) higher surge. Furthermore, shifting the storm westward causes higher levels of surge in the more populated areas due to more intense, higher shore-normal winds. This research helps to highlight the vulnerability of the upper Texas Gulf Coast to hurricane storm surge and lends insight to storm surge and flood mitigation studies in the Houston–Galveston region.
AG Sebastian, JM Proft, JC Dietrich, W Du, PB Bedient, CN Dawson (2014). “Characterizing Storm Surge Behavior in Galveston Bay using the SWAN + ADCIRC Model.” Coastal Engineering, 88, 171-181, DOI: 10.1016/ j.coastaleng.2014.03.002.