Joannes J. Westerink, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded the U.S. Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award.
Westerink received the award for his efforts as co-chair of the regional hydrodynamics team of the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET). IPET was a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-led eight-month, $20 million performance evaluation of the New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Protection system during Hurricane Katrina that was conducted by 150 leading corps engineers, academics, and government and private sector scientists and engineers.
The award citation noted:Dr. Westerink is recognized for his superior level of performance and tireless devotion which positively impacted IPET project success and contributed greatly to the reconstruction efforts of the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System.
Westerink is co-developer of the Advanced Circulation Model (ADCIRC), the authoritative computer model for storm surge used by the 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. Westerink and his MIT classmate Rick Luettich, now aUniversityofNorth Carolinaprofessor, developed the model in 1991.
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.
Westerink, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1990, also was recently appointed to the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection AuthorityWest Bank. The board and its East Bank counterpart serve as the local sponsors for the construction, operation and maintenance of hurricane, storm damage reduction and flood control projects in greaterNew OrleansandSoutheastern Louisiana.