Fighting the Effects of Natural Disasters

Advanced Research can Help Protect Humankind from Hurricanes and Other Natural Disasters

Predicting the future. When it comes to severe weather, it can mean the difference between life and death, as witnessed with Hurricane Katrina. While neither human nor machine can forecast the future with 100% accuracy, research at Notre Dame is leading to better forecasting models that can better protect humankind from the forces of nature.

Joannes Westerink, professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences and co-developer of the Advanced Circulation Model (ADCIRC), is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Southern Louisiana’s $15 billion flood protection system of levees. His model, a finite element-based shallow water equation model that’s also used by both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, predicts water levels resulting from a hurricane storm surge.