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Jason G. Fleming Rick Luettich University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences April 20, 2009. Real Time Storm Surge Guidance: Past and Future. The Team. University of North Carolina: Rick Luettich, Jason Fleming, Janelle Fleming, Rob Weaver, Crystal Fulcher

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Real time storm surge guidance past and future

Jason G. Fleming

Rick Luettich

University of North Carolina

Institute of Marine Sciences

April 20, 2009

Real Time Storm Surge Guidance: Past and Future

The team
The Team

University of North Carolina: Rick Luettich, Jason Fleming, Janelle Fleming, Rob Weaver, Crystal Fulcher

Louisiana State University: Robert Twilley

University of Notre Dame: Joannes Westerink

Corps: Nancy Powell and the Emergency Operations Center

Original surge guidance motivation in 2006
Original Surge Guidance Motivation in 2006

Project pursued in aftermath of Katrina

More accurate and detailed guidance sought for storm surge

Guidance needed in real time, updated as storm approached, focus on canal gates

Result: Lake Pontchartrain Forecast System

Original lpfs in a nutshell
Original LPFS in a Nutshell

Autonomous software using ADCIRC

Text advisories from NOAA to drive embedded Holland model

Consensus track and static ensemble

Mesh bathymetry acquired from previous projects with the Corps

Compute resources from LSU and Corps

Automated graphical output

Static ensemble members
Static Ensemble Members

1. NHC Consensus storm, 5 day forecast

2. Storm with 20% higher wind speed

3. Storm with 20% slower forward speed

4. Storm that veers along right of cone of uncertainty

5. Storm that veers along left of cone of uncertainty

Lessons learned 2006
Lessons Learned 2006

Reliability through redundancy

Redundant Computing Resources

Priority access guaranteed only at ERDC

LSU computers used as backup

UNC resources used as tertiary backup

Redundant Communications

Mirrored results at 4 websites

Enhanced notification emails to include advisory numbers and log file

2007 system enhancements
2007 System Enhancements

Multi-machine development at LSU

Added hotstart capability

Generalized system for portability and redundancy

2007 season relatively quiet
2007 Season Relatively Quiet

LPFS provided surge forecasts to the Corps for 2 storms

Hurricane Dean

Tropical Depression 10

Surge forecasts delivered within 30-40 minutes after hurricane advisories

All forecasts in 2007 were for minimal surge

2008 season enhancements
2008 Season Enhancements

Leverage FEMA work for expansion to West Bank of Mississippi River (larger grid)‏

Improved wind model to estimate central pressure in forecast

Google Earth contours of High Water Marks

Latest version of ADCIRC (time-varying tau0 and globalio)‏

2008 gulf coast storms
2008 Gulf Coast Storms

Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Ike

Guidance output provided from the LPFS to the Corps for each storm

Dolly: 15 Advisories

Edouard: 8 Advisories

Fay: 35 Advisories

Gustav: 11 Advisories (Extended Coverage)‏

Ike: (Extended Coverage)‏

2008 lessons learned
2008 Lessons Learned

Very active season

Broadest participation in the surge guidance process to date

True stress test of surge guidance system

2008 season lesson outages
2008 Season Lesson: Outages

Machine failures common during storms

Changing grids or increasing processors mid-season may expose bugs not observed in off-season

Must peform off-season testing with exact in-season configuration

2008 season lesson spatial coverage
2008 Season Lesson: Spatial Coverage

Season began with sl15light grid

Lake Pontchartrain and West Bank

“Only” 770k nodes

Wandering storm tracks pointed to need for wider spatial coverage (all of S. LA)‏

sl15 grid (2.2M nodes) employed for Gustav/Ike (processing power)‏

2008 season lesson temporal coverage
2008 Season Lesson: Temporal Coverage

Corps interested in storm surge before official forecast is issued

Emergency responders interested in hindcasts in immediate aftermath

areas of likely inundation

property damage assessments for aid estimates

2008 season lesson accuracy
2008 Season Lesson: Accuracy

Symmetric vortex model does not use all information in advisory

Asymmetric vortex model is more accurate

Far field winds may be more important than previously thought

2008 season lesson ensemble
2008 Season Lesson: Ensemble

Static ensemble of 5 storms is too generic

right and left edges of cone may not be within area of interest

does not take into account variations in RMW

ignores tracks that coincide with particularly vulnerable areas (under construction, etc)‏

Need a dynamically variable ensemble

2009 changes and enhancements
2009 Changes and Enhancements







Limit the number of in-season changes

in-season changes make rigorous testing more difficult

LPFS2009 will be more flexible reducing the need for late changes

Implement structured testing

run more forecasts in test mode

test mode carefully designed to cover all possible situations


ADCIRC input files more easily swapped

Number and character of storms in ensemble may be dynamically modified, advisory-by-advisory

Number and location of output stations dynamically modifiable


Geography: full Louisiana coastline

Early stages: cover pre-official forecast period

Late stages: advise after landfall for emergency responders


Fast turnaround of results will require greater processing power

640 CPUs on Sapphire produced a result in 1 hour (per storm, sl15 light, 5 day fcst)‏

Therefore, 3-storm ensemble will require 1920 CPUs to produce results in one hour on sl15light grid ...


Pleased with the accuracy of our surge guidance in 2008 season

Detailed comparison of measured data and surge guidance is still ongoing

Enhanced accuracy in 2009 season via

use of most up-to-date bathymetry

transition to asymmetric vortex wind model


Broad participation has provided a tremendous boost to the guidance process

The efforts, frustrations and successes of the 2008 season have informed the development of LPFS

The 2009 season will build on past experiences to provide the most reliable, timely and accurate surge guidance available