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Vulnerability Assessment of Coastal Infrastructure to Storm Surge and Waves

When:Monday, April 21, 2014
Time:2:00- 3:00 pm
Where:239 Kaufman Hall, ODU Campus, Norfolk.
Contact:Dr. Gary Schafran (gschafra at

Vulnerability Assessment of Coastal Infrastructure to Storm Surge and Waves

Masoud Hayatdavoodi, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa


Water level in coastal areas is known to increase gradually due to the climate change and sea level rise, and temporarily and rapidly due to storm surge and wave setup during a storm event. Such increase in water level, not only significantly impacts the sediment circulation and the form and resilience of our shorelines, it also increases the probability of higher number and larger set of waves approaching the coastal infrastructure; large waves that would otherwise break farther offshore are now able to come closer to our coastlines. Typically not designed for such severe loads, coastal infrastructure, such as buildings, bridges, highways, ports and harbor facilities near shorelines become extremely exposed and vulnerable to storm surge and waves, and may partially or completely collapse. Hurricanes Ivan (2004), Katrina (2005), Ike (2008) and Sandy (2012) are just a few examples of such destructive events in the very recent history of the US.

With the increasing rate of climate change and sea level rise, there is no question whether our coasts will be struck more by such severe events in the future; this is a matter of time, and whether we are well prepared for it or not. The recent failures have shown that assessing the vulnerability of our coastal infrastructure and implementing retrofit or remedial measures to protect against future inundation events should be a high priority.

This presentation will focus on reviewing the failure mechanisms of some coastal structures, such as coastal bridges, and introduce the available approaches in assessing vulnerability of these structures. The presentation will include a review of the existing theoretical approaches, a recently developed nonlinear shallow-water wave model based on the Green-Naghdi equations, and application of computational fluid dynamics to the problem. Based on the results, suggestions on improving resilience of coastal structures will be discussed.

Brief Biography
Masoud Hayatdavoodi
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering
School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Masoud Hayatdavoodi is a Post-Doctoral research fellow in coastal and ocean engineering in the Ocean and Resources Engineering (ORE) department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He earned a Ph.D. degree from the ORE department in December 2013, with the honor of the Outstanding Graduate Student award. The main theme of Dr. Hayatdavoodi's Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral research includes the assessment of coastal bridge and port vulnerability to tsunami and storm surge, for which he received the Link Foundation Ocean Engineering scholarship, the largest student prize in ocean engineering in the world. Dr. Hayatdavoodi and his Ph.D. advisor, Professor R.C. Ertekin, have recently developed a nonlinear model to calculate tsunami and storm wave loads on submerged deck of coastal bridges by use of the Green-Naghdi nonlinear shallow-water wave equations. He has a number of publications on several research topics including nonlinear shallow-water wave theories, wave loads on coastal structures, hydrodynamics, experimental fluid mechanics and computational fluid dynamics. Dr. Hayatdavoodi holds a Master's degree in Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, and a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering (Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Program) from Sharif University of Technology in Iran.