Fighting the Effects of Natural Disasters  

Professor Joannes Westerink and the University of Notre Dame are using advanced research to help protect populations 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 during recent hurricanes and tsunamis. And while neither man nor machine can predict weather patterns and storm surges with 100 percent accuracy, research being conducted in theComputational Hydraulics Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame is leading to improved forecasting models that can better protect lives from the dangerous forces of nature.

Joannes Westerink is professor of civil engineering and geological sciences, as well as the co-developer of a storm surge modeling technology known as Advanced Circulation or ADCIRC. Using the model, Professor Westerink was able to pinpoint what went wrong during Hurricane Katrina and assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the $15 billion redesign and reconstruction of southern Louisiana’s flood protection system of levees. The technology accurately predicted the storm surge resulting from Hurricane Isaac in late August of this year, and the redesigned protection system successfully protected the city of New Orleans from Isaac’s flood waters.

The University of Notre Dame asks, “What would you fight for?” Learn more about research at Notre Dame.