Multi-scale Modeling of a 500-year Cascadia Subduction Zone
Tsunami Inundation including the Constructed Environment

SimCenter Series: Early Career Researcher Forum
November 1, 2017 | 1pm - 2pm PDT


A numerical tsunami model that can incorporate the onshore constructed environment is difficult to build either with a two-dimensional (2D) approach or a three-dimensional (3D) approach. A depth-integrated 2D approach assumes independence of the z-coordinate (in the vertical direction), thus can be oversimplified when modeling complex and variable flow. 3D models require very fine meshing near coastal structures, which dramatically increases the computational cost and makes modeling of some problems impractical. In this study, an experiment modeled after a 500-year Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) tsunami inundation including the constructed environment is modeled and analyzed. Comparisons are made between a 2D model and a 3D model. Modeling reasonably selected subdomains is shown to alleviate the computational cost of the 3D model. The 2D model does not accurately capture the important details of the flow near initial impact due to the transiency and large vertical variation of the flow. The 3D model does a better job at a much higher cost of computational resources.

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Xinsheng (Shawn) Qin is a 4th year PhD student at the University of Washington in Seattle, co-advised by Michael Motley, Randall LeVeque and Frank Gonzalez. He received a Bachelor degree in Ocean Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China) in 2014. His primary areas of research are numerical modeling of tsunami inundation and impact on coastal structures using large-scale supercomputers. Recently he is also working on accelerating tsunami models with Graphic Processing Units (GPU).

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