Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Notre Dame study proposes changes in New Orleans area levee systems

25.07.2013
Less may mean more when it comes to the levee systems designed to protect New Orleans from hurricanes.

That's the conclusion of a new study by a team of University of Notre Dame researchers led by Joannes Westerink, co-developer of 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 of Louisiana to determine water levels due to hurricane surge and to design levee heights and alignments.

The lower Mississippi River south of New Orleans protrudes into the Gulf of Mexico and man-made levees line the west bank of the river for 55 kilometers of what is known as the Lower Plaquemines section. There are no levees on the east side of this stretch of the river. Westerink points out that, historically, sustained easterly winds from hurricanes have directed storm surge across Breton Sound into the Mississippi River and against its west bank levees.

"This study clearly shows that the man-built west bank levee on the lower Mississippi River enhance the capture storm surge by the river, " Westerink said. "The surges are generated by the prevalent easterly winds that are common for regional hurricanes, but they spill into the river. These surges then propagate upriver endangering New Orleans from the river side."

As an alternative, the study shows that the lowering of man-made levees along the Lower Plaquemines river section to their natural state, to allow storm surge to partially pass across the Mississippi River, will decrease storm surge upriver toward New Orleans.

"By eliminating the 55 kilometers of man-made levees on the west bank of the river from Pointe a la Hache and Venice, the surges propagating in the river from Pointe a la Hache past New Orleans will be lowered by up to two meters," Westerink said. "This would save billions of dollars in levee construction to protect communities upriver from Pointe a la Hache."

The study also shows that the size of surges captured by the river actually decreases with a high stage river.

"While higher flow and stages on the river do cause the storm surge to rise on top of the river water levels, causing overall higher water levels for a specific hurricane, the storm surge does not simple linearly add to the pre-storm river water levels," Westerink said. "In fact, the surges captured by the river reduce as the river water levels rise."

The researchers are aware that eliminating the man-made levees on the west bank might potentially endanger the few sparsely populated areas along the lower west bank of the Mississippi.

"For the few communities south of the Pointe a la Hache, the study suggests building strong and high ring citadel levees around them and then connecting these communities with a bride, much as the Florida Keys are," Westerink said.

The researchers note that, historically, the design of Southeast Louisiana's hurricane flood risk reduction system has hinged on raising and adding levees in response to river or hurricane events that impact the region. Now, it may be time to think and build smarter.

"The study suggests building smarter citadel flood protection systems in the delta instead of long north-south linear systems that follow the river," Westerink said. "This reduces flooding risk, works with nature in that sediments can get to the delta from both the river and from hurricanes and thus build up the delta, and reduces levee construction costs by billions," Westerink said.

The group's study appears in the Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering.

Joannes Westerink | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nd.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

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: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>