Examination and Validation of Winds, Waves, and Storm Surge Processes for Hurricanes Ike (2008) and Sandy (2012) and the Integration of Hydrologic Processes into a Coastal Circulation Model

by Mark Edward Hope

Institution: University of Notre Dame
Department: Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: flood modeling; hydrology; hydraulics; Hurricanes; Hurricane Ike; Hurricane Sandy; storm surge; numerical modeling
Record ID: 2058971
Full text PDF: http://etd.nd.edu/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-03072015-123115/


The coastal environment during a hurricane is a complex and chaotic one with winds, waves, and atmospheric pressure generating storm surge that can cause potentially catastrophic flooding across hundreds of kilometers of coastline. Because of the large spatial scale of the impact of storm surge engineers and scientists employ numerical models to simulate coastal flooding caused by storm surge. However, by their nature numerical models most times cannot capture every process in an event. Whether limited by time, knowledge of processes, available technology, or other shortcomings modelers often must sacrifice some level of detail in order for the model to operate in a useful fashion. To compensate for this deficiency the modeler often times must use his or her best judgment to properly capture this process in a parameterized fashion. Either by innovation or invention, it is the duty of both the modeler and the Civil Engineer to utilize the most accurate model and tools available in order to provide the best understanding of storm surge and other catastrophic natural processes and how best to protect and prepare in the case of these catastrophes. While historical events may not fully capture the range of hurricane intensity, they do represent a reasonable sample from which future events may be estimated. Through the careful study of historical events it is possible to identify geographically unique localized storm surge processes as well as the underlying fundamental universal processes of storm surge generation, propagation, and dissipation. Additionally, historical events for which observational data exists can be used to validate numerical models and their components. It is the author's intent that the work presented in this dissertation aids the field of Civil Engineering through detailed model validation and analysis of storm surge processes for Hurricanes Ike (2008, Texas) and Sandy (2012, New York/New Jersey). Additionally, the integration of hydrologic processes into the ADCIRC coastal circulation model allowing for a more accurate depiction of flooding in the coastal environment during a tropical cyclone is presented. This integration is validated via observed data from Hurricane Ike and future improvements to increase model accuracy are presented.