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Modeling of Coastal Systems & Water Resources

Woods Hole Group specializes in the modeling of aquatic systems and has extensive experience in applying various modeling tools to simulate locales and environmental conditions across the world. Whether it is developing an in-house model or selecting an off-the-shelf modeling suite, Woods Hole Group takes pride in selecting the right modeling tool that is state-of-the-science and is most applicable to the project. Woods Hole Group’s experience includes modeling studies to support waterfront development/infrastructure, shore protection, wetlands restoration, dredging operations, environmental permitting, and remediation activities.

Woods Hole Group understands that a model will not give a proper assessment of site conditions without having the proper data. Therefore, Woods Hole Group’s modeling process involves incorporating new field data to not only establish the model domain, but to also define boundary conditions (waves, tides and, currents) and assure that the model is properly calibrated and validated. A validated model can then be used to simulate various design conditions to give an economical assessment for our clients. Specific modeling capabilities include:

  • Wave Generation & Transformation
  • Coastal, Estuarine & River Hydrodynamics
  • Water Quality/Pollutant Transport
  • Sediment Transport & Scour
  • Climate Change, Sea Level Rise & Storm Inundation

Snapshot:

Parallel Cluster
Computing


Woods Hole Group engineers built a high-performance 96-node parallel computing cluster to help with the demanding calculations required by high-resolution ...[+]

Climate Change
Vulnerability Assessments


Woods Hole Group is a key team member for a technically advanced, leading-edge pilot project for the Federal Highway Administration evaluating the vulnerability to...[+]

Herring River Estuary
Restoration Project


The restoration of the Herring River Estuary System, the largest estuary on outer Cape Cod, is geared towards developing a plan to restore 1,000 acres of wetlands...[+]

Parallel Cluster Computing


Woods Hole Group engineers built a high-performance 96-node parallel computing cluster to help with the demanding calculations required by high-resolution models. The cluster is built from a dozen Linux servers, each with a pair of 64-bit quad-core Intel processors and 8 gigabytes of RAM. A switched gigabit network with separate networks for inter-process communication and storage connects the servers. The system has a theoretical peak performance of 768 GFLOPS (theoretically multiply two numbers together 768 billion times in a second), and allows our modelers to run simulations of far greater resolution in a fraction of the time than previously. We are currently adding another 72 processors that will increase computational capacity to a teraflop, over a trillion floating-point calculations per second.

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments


Woods Hole Group is a key team member for a technically advanced, leading-edge pilot project for the Federal Highway Administration evaluating the vulnerability to sea level rise and extreme weather events for the Central Artery in Boston. The project incorporates a systems-level vulnerability assessment to evaluate adaptation options to reduce risk to specific assets.

The project also is geared toward integrating climate change vulnerability into MassDOT and FHWA overall practices. A highly resolved numerical model was developed to assess the combined impact of sea level rise, storm events, winds, tides, and waves.

Results from the model are used to assess risk for assets throughout the City of Boston, and subsequently to investigate adaptation options to reduce the identified vulnerabilities. Results also are helping to establish an emergency response plan for tunnel protection and/or shutdown.

The investigation included a cost benefit analysis providing MassDOT information to help select the most efficient methods for protecting valuable existing assets against today's weather events as well as future climate impacts. Climate scenarios and combined storm surge and sea level rise were developed for current day, 2030, 2070, and 2100.

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Herring River Estuary Restoration Project


The restoration of the Herring River Estuary System, the largest estuary on outer Cape Cod, is geared towards developing a plan to restore 1,000 acres of wetlands. The overall goal is to create a productive floodplain environment that will sustain itself with improved water quality and a strengthened ecosystem by restoring tidal flow to the estuary. The success of the project largely depends on a comprehensive restoration plan.

Woods Hole Group was contracted to develop a hydrodynamic and salinity model that is central to the restoration plan. This high-resolution (two-meter scale) complex model evaluates potential changes to surface water flow, velocity, and salinity levels within the estuary. The model is also applied to numerous alternative scenarios to assess potential restoration gains, upland flooding concerns, improved salinity distribution, sediment transport and deposition, etc.

Woods Hole Group's approach included evaluation and selection of the best model for the project, code development, model set-up, calibration, and verification, and simulation of a range of physical conditions (e.g., sea level rise, storm conditions). The complex numerical modeling simulates both the hydraulics of the system and the salinity distribution throughout the estuary. The results are used to assess restoration alternatives and design new engineering openings and water control structures. Following completion of the model, 3-D interactive animations and visualization tools were developed within Google earth showing the response of the system to various alternatives.

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Download Full Project Description