PROJECT 4: Real-time Storm Surge, Coastal Flooding, and Coastal Erosion Forecasting for Arctic Alaska

Project PI’ s: Dr. Thomas Ravens & Dr. Craig Tweedie

Lead Institutions: University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and University of Texas El Paso (UTEP)

Supporting Team: Dr. Jifeng Peng (UAA), Graduate Student Jon Allen (UAA), Graduate Student Seth Campbell (UAA), and Axiom Data Sciences

Project Description
In this project, we will work in collaboration with NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) to develop a high (1 km) resolution storm surge forecasting model for the north coast of Alaska between Cape Lisburne and the US/Canadian Border (a distance of 1000 km). Currently, the NWS operates a ~ 5 km resolution forecasting model (ET-Surge). The storm surge modeling will be conducted with NWS-compatible software (either the SLOSH model or the ADCIRC model). Water level forcing data, applied on the ocean boundary, will come from National Weather Service’s Extra Tropical (ET)-Storm Surge model. Bathymetric and topographic data will be gathered from NOAA sources.

In addition to the storm surge forecasting, we will develop a preliminary coastal erosion forecasting model for the Barrow area. The coastal erosion model will be a semi-empirical model that computes erosion rate based on environmental data including surge height, wave condition, water temperature, and nearshore ice condition. Nearshore wave data for the erosion model will be estimated based on NOAA’s operational Wavewatch III model or the Nearshore Wave Prediction System (planned to be operational in September 2016).

The storm surge and coastal erosion models will be calibrated and validated using available data including NOAA water level data collected at Prudhoe Bay and shoreline change, wave and water level data available by Barrow. Co-PI Craig Tweedie will assist with the gathering of Barrow data for model calibration/validation. Time permitting, the team will include an Xbeach model to explicitly include the contribution of wave run-up to the coastal storm surge (following Erickson et al. 2015). The suite of models will forecast storm surge, coastal flooding, and erosion risk and they will be included in the Arctic Information Fusion Capability (AIFC).