The future in seconds: eSURF : a model to estimate hurricane surge levels

Lin, ChuHui (2009) The future in seconds: eSURF : a model to estimate hurricane surge levels.

Abstract:In this report a research will be done on the improvement of the beta version of eSURF. This model named eSURF is a surge level prediction model. These surge levels are caused by hurricanes nearing the coast of New Orleans. The model was made by Van den Berg (2008) and is called the beta version of eSURF. The beta version needs to be improved because this model lacks the capability to also provide a good estimation for surge levels points far from the hurricanes track. This shortcoming was noticeable during hurricane Ike in the fall of 2008. This hurricane made landfall at the coast of Texas, but due to its enormous wind field still caused a surge on the east coast of New Orleans 210 miles away from the hurricanes track. This research aims at adding a relationship to eSURF that accounts for surge levels caused by the hurricanes span of wind field. The relationship is found in the kinetic energy a moving object has. This energy could then be put into relationship with the extra surge levels that a hurricane provides for points far away from a hurricanes track. The real challenge is putting the kinetic energy of a hurricane in relationship with the distance, because this energy will only provide an extra surge level for points that are at a distance from a hurricane. But at the same time it needs to be left out for points that are near the hurricanes track. The solution lies in the usage of a logarithm with distance as its function. To look at the improvement and to see if eSURF does provide reliable surge level prediction, a validation has been made on 5 historical storms. The validation is based on the observed maximum surge levels and the surge levels predicted by the beta version and eSURF with the kinetic energy. The validation showed that eSURF is an improvement on the beta version and still gets a better fit to the one on one line in the regression model, meaning a better representation of the reality. This is especially the case with hurricane Ike, which, after all, motivated this research. The validation also shows that improvement is needed on the distribution of the kinetic energy over the distance between a hurricane and the chosen surge point. In this rapport a logarithm is used with distance as its function. This logarithm function has been chosen because a low kinetic energy is contributing to points nearby the hurricane and a larger part of the kinetic energy is contributing to points further away from the hurricane. The problem lies with the continuity of the logarithm, and the distribution of the kinetic energy value over the distance. The recommendation is to do further research on this distribution factor of integrated kinetic energy. The conclusion of this research is that eSURF is ready to assist as a good reliable source for a first estimation of the surge level around the coast of Louisiana and especially for the city New Orleans. Although the model is improved with Integrated Kinetic Energy, it did not need to pay for it in time to execute the tool. The tool is still as fast as the beta version and thanks to the new parameter more accurate when it comes to predicting the relentless reality.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering BSc (56952)
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