Coastal Hazard Modeling
Engineering to Enhance Resilience
Disaster Response and Social Resilience
Planning for Resilience
Educational Curriculum Development
Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence at UNC - Research Lead
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
100 Europa Drive, Suite 540
Campus Box 7581
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Anna Schwab, Program Manager
Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence at JSU - Education Lead
Jackson State University
P.O. Box 18159
Jackson, MS 39217
Thomas Richardson, Deputy Director
Rick Luettich, Director of CHC at UNC
Robert W. Whalin, Director of CHC at JSU
The Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence (CHC) performs research and develops education programs to enhance the Nation's ability to safeguard populations, properties, and economies from catastrophic natural disasters.
New Web Tools
CHC has developed two web tools that are now available online. CERA is a web tool that provides supplemental operational surge and wave guidance during coastal storms and generates 5 day forecasts based on the ADCIRC model and SWAN wave model. CERA is available for both the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.
"Back to Basics" is an interactive web tool that features numerous examples and best practices in hazard mitigationto include everything you need to know to meet the basic requirements for approval by FEMA. In addition, Back to Basics draws on top available scientifc knowledge and informal knowledge from local residents and officials to create high quality mitigation plans.
ADCIRC (Storm Surge/Flood Model)
CHC developed ADCIRC, high-resolution computer modeling that predicts where, when, and to what extent flooding will occur. The U.S. Coast Guard used ADCIRC model results during Hurricanes Irene, Isaac, and Sandy to aid storm-related decisions, such as deployment locations and maintaining continuity of operations. FEMA is using ADCIRC models to update National Flood Insurance Program coastal inundation maps from New England to Texas and to re-evaluate coastal evacuation routes.
MUNICIPAL, or Multi-Network Interdependent Critical Infrastructure Program for the Analysis of Lifelines, is a tool developed to assist members of the emergency management community with making decisions regarding the restoration of critical infrastructure services. This tool is unique because of the emphasis that it places on interdependencies between multiple infrastructure systems, such as water, power, transportation, and communication services.
Disaster Response Intelligent System (DRIS)
CHC developed DRIS, a GIS-based decision support system for disaster response and recovery. It links to multiple emergency management tools (e.g., hurricane storm surge models, plume models, WebEOC, and live feeds for traffic earthquake, weather) with pre-populated datasets (such as local infrastructure maps) within a single, easy-to-use framework. State and local emergency managers deployed DRIS for several disaster response operations, including two Mississippi tornado events in 2010 and the Mississippi River flood in May 2011. It is presently used by several counties, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, and the Mississippi National Guard.
Analysis of Federal Mitigation Policy in the United States
CHC researchers have developed a method to evaluate the quality of state and local hazard mitigation plans. These plans help communities design and build homes, businesses, roads and other critical structures that are resilient to natural hazards. Existing plans were scored and weaknesses were identified. FEMA has used these results to guide planning and inform federal policy decisions.
In-Situ Scour Evaluation Probe
Scour, or erosion of soil around structures due to water flow, is responsible for a wide range of critical infrastructure failures — from unstable bridges to faulty levees. CHC has developed an in-situ scour probe, the first tool of its kind to measure scour potential in the field. In-situ analysis provides quicker, more accurate results compared to traditional processes that require excavation, sampling and lab processing.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the Research Lead for the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence. Research is conducted in four closely-linked areas, listed below with Principal Investigator, university affiliation and title of the research project. A summary of research projects current up to academic year July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014 can be viewed here. Currently active CHC projects are listed below.
Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, is the Educational Lead for the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence and is developing curricula and degree programs at numerous institutions.
A list of publications can be viewed on the Coastal Hazards Center website here:
Students are an integral component of the Coastal Hazards Center’s mission.
CHC at JSU has developed coastal engineering curricula at the bachelor’s and master’s level. CHC at UNC employs undergraduate and graduate students as interns in research.
Every summer, CHC at UNC employs a student from one of the minority serving partner institutions to work alongside a Principal Investigator on a research project.
Additionally, the DHS Summer Research Team for MSI’s brings a faculty member and student intern team from a minority serving partner institution to one of the host centers.
Here you can read essays written by students who have worked on Coastal Hazards Center projects and have reflected on the value of the experience.
Expanding the Uses of the Disaster Response Intelligent System (DRIS) - CHC at JSU’s project builds on experience with the Disaster Response Intelligent System (DRIS). DRIS is an Esri-based GIS product that supports comprehensive emergency management planning, response, and recovery. It links to multiple emergency management tools (e.g., hurricane storm surge models, plume models, WebEOC, and live feeds for traffic, earthquake, weather) with pre-populated datasets (such as local infrastructure maps) within a single, easy-to-use framework.
Following Hurricane Katrina, JSU researchers developed DRIS as a tool for county-level emergency managers. The goal of this project is to extend the applications of DRIS and make it available to a larger number of end users. DRIS is scalable to cities, states, or regions, and can be adapted readily for specific applications, such as the private sector, universities, and medical facilities.
Identifying And Analyzing the Driving Forces Of Hurricane Recovery Post Sandy And Katrina - CHC at UNC has partnered with the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina in a study of Hurricane Katrina’s impact on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast to understand factors influencing the pace and progression of recovery in the region, the potential inequalities in the process, and those antecedent conditions that could give rise to a “recovery divide.” The research combines baseline geographic data on the social, built environment, and hazard vulnerability of the region, a historical narrative on past conditions that influence the current (pre-Katrina) settlement history, a statistical analysis of historical rates of settlement and demographic change in the region, and forecasts for the future trajectory of the region.
Louisiana State University
North Carolina State University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
University of Notre Dame
University of Oklahoma
UNC Institute of Marine Sciences
UNC Hazards Center
Renaissance Computing Institute at UNC
Appalachian State University
Texas Southern University
University of Houston at Clear Lake
Alcorn State University
Center for Defense Integrated Data
Engineer Research and Development Center
Johnson C. Smith University
Louisiana State University
Northrop Grumman Center
for High Performance Computing
Texas A&M University at Galveston
University of Houston
U.S. Coast Guard
FEMA Hazard Mitigation Division
FEMA Disaster Recovery Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
National Weather Service
FEMA National Flood Insurance Program