Navigation Links
UNC computer, marine scientists collaborate to predict flow of toxic waters from Katrina

In the immediate wake of Hurricane Katrina, scientists and research centers from across the country came together to generate information on the contaminated floodwaters and offer it to hazardous materials experts and public health officials.

In a matter of hours, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Marine Sciences Program and Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), together with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), played a key role in that effort by providing rapid-response computing and modeling capability.

Floodwaters containing organic and chemical pollutants such as sewage and oil still cover swaths of Mississippi and Louisiana. To aid cleanup, researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Coast Survey Development Laboratory (CSDL), along with UNC faculty, have been developing forecasts that will predict the circulation of those foul waters.

A group of researchers, including Drs. Richard Luettich and Brian Blanton, marine scientists in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences, has developed a three-dimensional computer program that can be used to model water levels and flow. This program, "ADCIRC," is what experts call a hydrodynamic code. Previously, the code was used largely for after-the-fact analyses of coastal circulation, but researchers now believe it can help produce answers during a crisis.

Blanton and Luettich, assistant research professor and professor of marine sciences, respectively, knew that to simulate the required 60 days of water velocity and water surface elevation they would need more computational power then they had at the university. They asked UNC's Dr. Daniel A. Reed for help -- based on their NOAA--funded collaboration with RENCI -- to establish a computational system with Web access for rapid-response forecasting to severe weather.

Reed is Chancellor's Eminent professor and vice chancellor for information technology at UNC. North Caro lina's 2005-06 budget includes $5.9 million in new funding for RENCI, a collaboration of UNC, Duke and NC State that is based on the Chapel Hill campus and run by Reed. RENCI is slated to receive $11.8 million in recurring funding thereafter.

"If we had a month to do these runs, we could do them on our desktop computers or on a small cluster, but to do it literally overnight requires some horsepower," Blanton said.

Reed, former director of NCSA, connected Blanton and Leuttich with NCSA, the National Science Foundation-supported supercomputing center located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Using NCSA's Xeon system, a state-of-the-art parallel computer called Tungsten, the researchers were able to complete the required computational runs in about 15 hours, from midnight on Sept. 11 to mid-afternoon on Sept. 12.

"This is a prelude to the capabilities RENCI and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will provide to North Carolina, as we deploy our own large-scale computing infrastructure and continue to build disaster-response collaborations with North Carolina experts," Reed said. "With state support, we are now building world-class capability for interdisciplinary research, technology transfer, economic development and engagement across North Carolina."

Researchers at CSDL, with assistance from Luettich and Blanton, are working to integrate information provided by the computational calculations with NOAA's North American Mesoscale Model, the primary weather forecasting model used by the National Weather Service, to simulate wind speed, direction and other weather factors. Their goal is to provide daily forecasts of coastal circulation and pollutant concentrations in the Katrina-affected region, information that will be vital as cleanup efforts and recovery continue.

The two also have extended their work with RENCI, Reed and colleagues to analyze various aspects of last weekend's Hurricane Rita and its effects in Texas and Louisiana.

"We are trying to be prepared and generate reliable information that the hazardous materials experts will need to have," said CSDL scientist Jesse Feynen. "We're doing that, and we're doing it quickly."


'"/>

Source:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Related biology news :

1. Avian flu modeled on supercomputer, explores vaccine and isolation options for thwarting a pandemic
2. Sequencing of marine bacterium will help study of cell communication
3. Solutions that reduce death of marine life reeled in by International Smart Gear Competition
4. UN environmental agency steps up battle against marine pollution
5. Evidence of 600-million-year old fungi-algae symbiosis discovered in marine fossils
6. Deep thinking: Scientists sequence a cold-loving marine microbe
7. Structures of marine toxins provide insight into their effectiveness as cancer drugs
8. UF study first to quantify validity of DNA I.D. tool using marine snails
9. Prenatal exposure to marine toxin causes lasting damage
10. Restaurant seafood prices since 1850s help plot marine harvests through history
11. Compound from marine bacteria shows potential as multiple myeloma therapy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/26/2016)... April 27, 2016 Research ... Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal ... 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal ... sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new ... prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., ... Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field ... DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... & Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 ... Review , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, ... the escalating cost of cancer care is placing ... a result of expensive biologic therapies. With the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: