Advanced Model Training for Predicting Coastal Storm Impacts

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This article is part of the August-September 2016 issue of the Sound Waves newsletter.

A large group of people stands at the front of a classroom smiling for the camera.

Group photo for the COAWST 2016 training. Photo credit: Kanoksri Sarinnapakorn

To better understand storm impacts and their effects on our coastlines, there is an international need to better predict storm paths and intensity. The USGS has been leading the development of a Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere-Waves-Sediment Transport (COAWST) Modeling system.

This open-source and publically developed modeling system pulls together many sophisticated components to provide a collective system that can be used to simulate earth system processes. Some of the components include the atmosphere Weather Research and Forecast Model (WRF), the ocean Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS), the wave Simulating WAves  Nearshore (SWAN), and the USGS Community Sediment models. The USGS has provided have provided and developed varying aspects of all these individual systems, and provided enhanced capabilities to allow all of these components to feedback to one another. For example, a typical hurricane modeling simulation may include great details for the atmosphere component, but with limited connectivity to the ocean. However, with the COAWST system, these simulations will allow the ocean to dynamically evolve and provide a feedback to the atmosphere simulation. This will modify the storm development and provide a more realistic suite of physical storm processes.

To advance the user community of the modeling system, the USGS has held several COAWST Modeling System Trainings. The first training took place in 2012, the second in 2014, and the third training was held from August 15-19, 2016. All the trainings were viewed and recorded via WebEx online. More than 70 scientists from around the world attended the most recent training. It provided both a hands-on tutorial of the system, as well as fundamental information about the modeling components. The training was performed by many of the model developers, and users shared their own experiences to gain feedback from other attendees. The COAWST modeling system currently has over 700 registered users.

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USGS helps the Government of India discover large, highly enriched, producible accumulations of natural gas hydrate in the Bay of Bengal, USGS re-evaluates the causes and hazards of South Carolina earthquakes, and more in this August-September issue of Sound Waves.