Natural Hazards: Computing for health of the planet

Today, it is essential to prepare for a more sustainable future. Today extreme weather events are more common than ever before. Just in the last 10 years, 7348 major disaster events claiming 1.23 million lives have been recorded. These events have cost $2.97 trillion in economic losses. The major events included drought, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and wildfires. It is becoming ever more important to implement early warning systems. However, these are not possible without understanding these phenomena well and developing possible scenarios to mitigate risks

Natural hazards preparedness and sustainable hazard mitigation is critical to a nation’s ability to withstand and respond to natural disasters. They present a varied risk across any country. Just in the year 2020 (Jan – Jun), US has faced ten separate billion-dollar weather and climate-related disaster events as reported by the NOAA.

NOAA further estimates that the total losses in dollar amounts due to natural disasters is growing each year. Already, in 2020, the total estimated losses are greater than the average of the years of 1980 – 2020. This is already without accounting for the recent wildfires in California or the Atlantic hurricanes like Laura etc. Overall, over the last quarter-century, the natural hazards and the accompanying technological hazards have been dealt in with isolation. The birth of “hazards communities,” has brought together people from diverse fields and agencies to address the myriad aspects of natural disasters. As shown, the majority of funding has gone into addressing earthquakes, inlandflooding, coastal hazards including tsunami, wildfires among others. Such dedicated efforts have helped reduce the resulting death, economic losses and vastly improved our understanding of the processes underlying natural hazards and the complexities of decision making, before and after a hazard.

The overall research is as illustrated in Fig. 01 where I will overall focus on creation of Decision Support Systems (DSS) through development of high-fidelity computer simulation techniques and tools. The computer tools will interface Geographic Information System (GIS) with Finite Volume (FVM) and Finite Element Methods (FEM) to address water / wind / fire related natural hazards, related building structural response and to eventually develop regional hazard maps.

Tsunanmi and storm surges

Off-shore and coastal structures

Air-Water interfaces

Other natural hazards: Computational perspectives

Wildfire simulations

  • A. B. Harish and S. Govindjee, “Standardization for uni-directional coupling between 2-D shallow water and 3-D CFD solvers,” Coastal Engineering (Under preparation)
  • A. B. Harish, F. McKenna and S. Govindjee, “Hydro-UQ: Open-source tool for modeling tsunami and storm-surge events,” Journal of Open-Source Software (Under preparation)
  • A. B. Harish, F. McKenna and S. Govindjee, “CFD Notebooks: Learning OpenFOAM for HPC,” Journal of Open-Source Education (Under preparation)