Louisiana Sea Grant Project

Active Research Projects 

Towards Continuous Updates to Topography, Bathymetry, and Surface Characteristics for Louisiana Surge Guidance and Related Coastal Studies

Project Sponsors: Louisiana Sea Grant

PI: Scott C. Hagen, LSU CCE/CCT, Director LSU CCR

Co-PI: Denise E. DeLorme, LSU Environmental Science

Collaborating Partners: Matthew V. Bilskie, LSU CCR
                                          Carola Kaiser, LSU CCT
                                          Katie Lea, Louisiana Sea Grant
                                          Maurice C. Wolcott, LSU AgCenter

Project Summary Tropical events that impacted coastal Louisiana in 2005 and beyond have brought a renewed awareness of the vulnerabilities of this region to the impacts of hurricane storm surge. This awareness has prompted local governments to increase efforts to improve flood protection infrastructure. Existing structures, such as levees and floodwalls, have been raised to higher elevations to restore levels of flood protection that have been degraded by years of subsidence, compaction, and consolidation. New structures have been, and are continuing to be, put in place to increase the level of protection of vulnerable areas. These changes to the landscape must be seamlessly incorporated into Louisiana’s tide, wind-wave, and hurricane storm surge models.

This project aims to update an existing Advanced Circulation (ADCRIC) model representation of topography (including levees and other flood control structures) and bathymetry by applying recently acquired elevation data. In addition, we will update representations of surface characteristics including bottom friction, canopy, and wind-reduction factors. The over-arching goal is to develop an unstructured mesh generation framework so that continuous adjustments may be made to the ADCIRC model as coastal Louisiana evolves morphologically and ecologically, and from engineered improvements. The interactive website CERA (http://coastalemergency.org) is to be used to display storm surge simulation results along with real-time hydrologic data. CERA is an intuitive tool to communicate scientific results and data to the emergency management, policy and decision making communities. Please see http://cera.cct.lsu.edu/ for the latest real-time forecast.

The figure below showcases the need to continually update elevations in coastal Louisiana. An inaccurate topographic feature elevation, such as a levee or raised roadway, can substantially impact the model result. The figure shows an example of the model updates to include newly constructed reaches of Morganza to the Gulf levee system in Terrebonne Parish.

LASG Project Overview Figure