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Brian Joyce

Brian Joyce


B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 2013


The western coastline of Alaska spans over 10,000 km of diverse topography ranging from low lying tundra in the north to sharp volcanic relief in the south. Included in this range are areas highly susceptible to powerful storms which can cause coastal flooding, erosion and have many other negative effects on the environment and commercial efforts in the region. In order to better understand the multi-scale and interactive physics of the deep ocean, continental shelf, near shore, and coast, I am developing a large unstructured domain hydrodynamic model using the finite element, free surface circulation code ADCIRC. This model is a high resolution, accurate, and robust computational model of Alaska’s coastal environment capable of simulating tides, storm surges. The geographic and topographical complexity of the Alaskan coastline can only be captured with very high model resolution. Historical wind and pressure fields are used within the model to simulate storm events and the resulting storm surge. With a high resolution grid, this storm surge can be modeled in coastal areas and estuarine and deltaic systems where coastal erosion and flooding are significant problems. Accurate knowledge of tidal and storm surge response in water elevation and currents is vital to providing preventative measures against the coastal erosion and flooding problems occurring along the Alaskan coast. This is especially important in remote Alaskan communities where the environment may greatly decrease the ability to provide assistance to victims of coastal hazards. Both the tidal and surge model have an extensive number of observed data points collected by NOAA to be used for validation. The next step in my work is to include the effects that ice coverage may have on the storm surge resulting from large winter storms in the region. At certain concentrations, the ice may have an amplifying effect on the storm surge. This is a very important topic to understand, especially within the context of climate change.


All eyes on Hurricane Irma: Using models for risk assessment and storm surge predictions

September 13, 2017

CEEES students utilize storm prediction models to track wave and surge conditions from Hurricane Irma.