7.2 Whitepaper on the establishment of an islands wave, surge and hydrologic testbed based on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 8:45 AM
Room 18B (Austin Convention Center)
Joannes Westerink, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN; and A. J. van der Westhuysen, J. Smith, J. Feyen, J. Gonzalez, A. Mercado, J. Morell, A. B. Kennedy, M. Canals, S. Boc, S. Stripling, C. Anselmi, E. Rodriguez, E. Diaz, P. Diaz, and B. Baltes
Manuscript (458.8 kB)

U.S. island regions in the Caribbean and Pacific pose many challenges to the accurate modeling of hazardous wave-dominated storm surge inundation events; for example, NOAA/NWS lacks an operational inundation prediction system capable of forecasting these conditions. Model evaluation depends on data from island areas, and Puerto Rico (PR) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) frequently experience strong tropical and extra-tropical storms resulting in high waves, storm surge, and river flooding. A large number of observational instruments have been deployed in this region, including the CariCOOS network, NOAA's NWLON, the Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) and deployments by the Scripps Institution and various universities. This infrastructure can provide the basis for model evaluation in island regions. A two-day multi-agency workshop was held in Puerto Rico on March 29-30, 2012 to discuss these challenges and how a PR/USVI testbed could address them. Organizers of this workshop included CariCOOS, UPR/Sea Grant, NOAA/NWS, NOAA/NOS, USACE, University of Notre Dame, and the UNC Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters (a DHS Center of Excellence). It was concluded from these discussions that advancement of operational systems for island regions can most effectively be achieved through a close synergy of observational, research, and operational activities. The U.S. IOOS® Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed is ideally suited to facilitate these efforts, leveraging its standardized framework for evaluating inundation models. Operational and mature research models which could be candidates for future operations should be evaluated in the PR/USVI area against observational data, with particular emphasis placed on those systems that could meet operational requirements for computational cost and probabilistic or ensemble predictions.

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