UNF-CCEC Research Colloquium Series: Dr. Don Resio

The UNF-CCEC Research Colloquium Series presents Dr. Don Resio, Professor and Director of the Taylor Engineering Research Institute, on "Innovations, Computations and Engineering for Assessing Coastal Risk and Improved Risk Mitigation," at noon on Friday, 07 September 2012, in Building 039, Room 3063.

Coastal disasters have long been a major concern for the lives and livelihoods of coastal inhabitants and the socio-economic development of communities in low-lying, highly-populated coastal areas around the world.  It is now widely recognized that the consequences of such disasters are not confined only to areas near coasts but can have devastating effects on the social and economic well-being of entire countries.  The growing need to deal with this potential devastation represents a great challenge to scientists, engineers, emergency managers, coastal planners and decision-makers within the US and around the world.  Evidence will be offered here that solutions to problems of this magnitude require a combination of three key elements of science and technology coming together: innovation, computation, and engineering.     
Beginning with a review of the evolution of the climate of technological innovation since the 1950s, I will develop the case for a needed infusion of innovation into many areas of engineering dealing with environmental problems, a need highlighted by the effects of recent disasters of exceptional magnitude around the globe, such as the December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, hurricanes along the US Gulf and Atlantic coasts, and the Japanese tsunami affecting the Fukushima nuclear power plant.  I consider here three aspects of needed improvements for reducing the effects of natural disasters in coastal areas:  
Improved reduction of risk via improved risk assessment tools;
Improved mitigation of hazards and consequences during events; and
Improved mitigation of consequences during post-event recovery. 
Solutions to complex problems are simplified by the identification of canonical problems which prevent existing methods/systems from providing satisfactory results. My example for the first “bullet” above will be to show how revised analysis methods for quantifying flood hazards, based on a combination of reformulated statistics and high-performance computing tools, has markedly changed the manner in which future coastal infrastructure is being designed.  For the second “bullet,” it will be shown that a totally new system was needed to resolve critical logistics and time constraints during levee/dam breaching events with the added complication that such a system had to be able to resist extreme forces produced by water flowing through such breaches.  For the third “bullet,” it will be shown that a simple adaptation to earlier causeway and river systems could greatly improve the functionality and deployability of such systems.  All three of these systems have now been tested and are being used within the US.