SIAM produces video on modeling storm surge to better protect Texas

May 30, 2015

In the aftermath of recent floods that have caused some of the worst flooding since Hurricane Ike in 2008, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics has produced a brief video on modeling storm surges to better protect Texas.

The video focuses on the efforts of researchers at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, who have been studying computational models and simulations of hurricanes like Ike in order to predict the consequences of such natural disasters and better prepare the Texas Gulf Coast for their effects.

Environmental and coastal ocean engineering models yield complex systems that combine interdisciplinary techniques. Accurate and efficient simulation requires advanced tools in high performance scientific computing. In the video, Professor Jennifer Proft of UT Austin discusses new ideas for the high resolution modeling of extreme weather such as hurricane storm surge and floods.

She emphasizes that the Houston area in one of the most flood-prone areas of the United States while being the home of critical infrastructure, including  oil refineries and other industrial facilities. Her concern is modeling the Galveston Bay area and the shipping channel region.

She notes that there has been significant validation between the model and recorded historical storm data. As a result, strategies have been proposed including extending the Galveston Seawall, adding levies, and incorporating gates, which would permit the free flow of shipping but which could be closed when a storm is imminent.

View the video here:

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