Westerink named to Louisiana flood protection board

Author: William G. Gilroy and Nina Welding


Joannes J. Westerink, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame and co-developer of the Advanced Circulation Model (ADCIRC), has been appointed to the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection AuthorityWest Bankby Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

The seven-member board and its counterpart, the 11-member East Bank board, will serve as the local sponsors for the construction, operation and maintenance of hurricane, storm damage reduction and flood control projects in greater New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. The West Bank board includes three engineers (or professionals in a related field) and four other membersno more than two from each of the parishes on the west bank of theMississippi River.

For the safety of our citizens and their homes, it is important that this professional board immediately get to work,Blanco said.

An orientation meeting for the group is planned for late February.

ADCIRC, the authoritative computer model for storm surge used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state ofLouisianato determine water levels due to hurricane surge and to design levee heights and alignments, was developed in 1991 by Westerink and MIT classmate Rick Luettich, now aUniversityofNorth Carolinaprofessor.

Since that time, the researchers have refined the program, which applies discrete mathematics, costal oceanography and computer science to make its calculations. ADCIRC emphasizes resolving the features and flow that control storm surge in addition to using efficient and accurate numerical algorithms to calculate very fast flows that need to be computed.

Westerink has been leading the development of increasingly more detailed storm surge models ofSoutheastern Louisianato better understand the physics of storm surge development and to allow for more accurate predictions. The current SL15 model incorporates more than 2.17 million computational points, computes a solution every second and resolves features and flow down to 30 meters. Run on Department of Defense and other supercomputing facilities, the ADCIRC model considers all flow features of importance, including tides and riverine flows, coupled with meteorological and wind- wave models.

ADCIRC also is being used to study future levee development for the Congressionally mandated Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration project, the Armys Interagency Performance and Evaluation (IPET) Task Force, and the FEMA Flood Insurance Program.

In addition to this most recent appointment by Blanco, Westerink serves as the co-leader of the CorpsIPET surge and waves team that is evaluating the Hurricane Katrina failures and hurricane protection risk for the New Orleans area.

Westerink directs the Computational Hydraulics Laboratory at Notre Dame. His research focuses on computational fluid mechanics, finite element methods, the modeling of circulation and transport in coastal seas and oceans, tidal hydrodynamics, and hurricane storm surge prediction.

A faculty member since 1990, Westerink received his bachelors and masters degrees in civil engineering from the State University of New York atBuffaloand his doctorate in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

* Contact: * _Joannes J. Westerink, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences, 574-631-6475, westerink.1@nd.edu

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