Coastal resiliency planning with 3D storm surge models-an improvement over 2D models?

  • 29 October 2015

A new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans explores the ability of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional storm surge models to simulate current, sediment transport, and the effects of vegetation on storm surge.

Authors Lapetina and Sheng emplyed the 3D model CH3D-SWAN, which includes a turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) closure model and that also models vegetation profile drag and skin friction drag. They find that the 3D model simulations are more accurate than the 2D simulations in capturing storm surge dynamics. The 3D models are important for modeling sediment and pollutant transport during storms, as well as other density-dependent processes.

Increased use of 3D storm surge modeling could inform ongoing resilience efforts as cities and states move to address vulnerabilities by implementing natural infrastructure improvements like rehabilitating coastal estuaries.

A need for more detailed observations of coastal waters, vegetation and sediment transport is identified in order to improve understanding and 3D model accuracy. This project was supported by a NOAA Climate Program Office grant.

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