Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Making waves: LSU's WAVCIS increases modeling capabilities

Increased technology offers better ways for officials and public to see the storm ahead

LSU's WAVCIS, or Wave-Current-Surge Information System for Coastal Louisiana, has a few new tricks up its sleeve in preparation for the 2009 hurricane season.

Drawing from a pool of scientific talent at the university, across the nation and Europe, WAVCIS now offers graphic, easy-to-understand model outputs projecting wave height, current depths and tracks, salinity ratios and water temperature measurements that not only provide state-of-the-art guidance to emergency management officials, but also give federal and state agencies such as the United States Navy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center and Louisiana Department of National Resources new and improved ways to test their own modeling accuracy.

"I believe WAVCIS is likely the most comprehensive program in the entire nation," said Gregory Stone, director of both the WAVCIS program and the Coastal Studies Institute and also the James P. Morgan Distinguished Professor at LSU. "We now have 60 to 84 hour advance forecasting capabilities due to our satellite link-ups with NOAA and our supercomputing capabilities. Because of these advancements, we are in much better shape for the 2009 hurricane season to provide valuable information than we were in the past."

WAVCIS operates by deploying equipment in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, they have sensors attached to numerous oil platforms. Instruments are attached to towers on the platforms and allow meteorological measurements – air temperature, wind speed and direction, visibility – to be made; state-of-the-art oceanographic sensors are placed underwater and on the sea floor.

Advanced technology, including the Acoustic Doppler Profiler, an instrument that Stone's group has helped perfect in real time with the private sector, provides a very comprehensive overview of current velocities from the sea bed to the surface in addition to wave conditions on the sea surface.

"In a normal weather situation, WAVCIS links with the satellites and retrieves up-to-date information every hour. This information is then immediately supplied to computer models at LSU's WAVCIS lab and the data are posted on the WAVCIS Web site," said Stone. "However, during a hurricane or other extreme weather events, we have the capacity to increase the frequency of these link-ups. We won't have the luxury of waiting an hour during the approach of a hurricane – it's critical that we can see what's going on out there in 15 to 30 minute intervals in order to accurately assess the situation."

The WAVCIS group, a component of LSU's world famous Coastal Studies Institute, has sensors all throughout the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, most of the equipment used by WAVCIS is developed and maintained in-house at the Coastal Studies Institute's fabrication shop. Through a close and reciprocal relationship with NOAA's National Data Buoy Center, WAVCIS can also access that group's sensors, giving the system a gulf-wide look at emerging trends in waves and currents, which can be very important during the approach of a tropical cyclone.

"Things such as the maximum wave height, wind speeds and storm surge, will play an integral role in issues concerning public safety," said Stone. "For example, the development of certain currents, such as the Loop current in the Gulf of Mexico, allows for almost immediate intensification of storms. That's why having an easy-to-understand and comprehensive end product was so important to my team and the Coastal Studies Institute, for example the Earth Scan Lab and the Southern Regional Climate Center, during the development stages. When it's crunch time and people are nervous, we want the facts to be clear."

In addition to being a very active research group and providing graduate and undergraduate students with hands-on opportunities in an internationally-acclaimed lab, WAVCIS also provides other entities with the opportunity to test their own modeling accuracy. "By looking at the models they developed and then comparing them to ours and our measurements offshore, they can determine how accurate their models currently are and go about fine-tuning if necessary. This strengthens our knowledge of the oceanographic and coastal environment. Given the vulnerability of, for example coastal Louisiana and the oil and gas infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico to erosion and hurricane impacts, it is important that the Federal Government, State of Louisiana and the oil and gas industry continue to support this effort," Stone said.

Ashley Berthelot | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>