3.5 year UK NERC PhD studentship on tsunami modelling

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Location: Bangor University - School of Ocean Sciences

3.5 year UK NERC PhD studentship on tsunami modelling

#1 Post by simon_neill » Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:49 pm

Details of a fully-funded 3.5 year NERC PhD studentship on tsunami inundation modelling at the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, UK, can be found at:

A recent study from a Japanese government-appointed team of scientists has estimated that 90 towns and cities in Japan must now consider how to withstand a tsunami impact higher than 10m, and 23 of these regions have been advised to prepare for a tsunami which exceeds 20m. However, in terms of balancing risk against cost, it is important to know how water elevations will vary within these populated areas and adjacent inland regions. Existing computer models of tsunami inundation tend to use grid-based techniques, in the same way that meteorological models divide the world into model grid cells. However, such grid-based methods cannot simulate the complexity of multiple free-surfaces and the highly non-linear fluid dynamics of tsunamis which travel far inland. With recent advances in supercomputing, one of the most exciting opportunities in the research field of fluid mechanics is the meshless modelling technique of Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH). SPH derives from the field of astrophysics, and its natural ability to capture large deformations and moving boundaries has led to its subsequent application to the study of a wide range of fluid phenomena such as dam break, and wave breaking. In this project, existing ocean-basin tsunami propagation models, such as those applied to the simulation of the Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami, will be used as boundary conditions to drive the three-dimensional SPH inundation model, which will simulate coastal impact, overland bore propagation, two-phase fluid/sediment flow, and subsequent land drainage. This novel and exciting application of SPH to such a globally significant aspect of fluid dynamics has implications for risk reduction in tsunami hotspots and, with recent UK government policy, for understanding extreme design risks necessary for the safe operation of the next generation of coastal nuclear power plants.

The PhD will begin in October 2014. The PhD is supervised by Simon Neill and Reza Hashemi at the School of Ocean Sciences, and the project is also supervised externally by Dave Tappin (British Geological Survey) and Kevin Horsburgh (National Oceanography Centre, UK). BGS are CASE partners on the project, and provide £1000 per annum in addition to the £13,726 tax-free annual NERC stipend. All fees and fieldwork expenses (including field visits to Japan and Scotland and international conference attendance) are fully covered for UK candidates, fees only for candidates from the rest of the EU. Unfortunately, candidates outside the EU are not funded by NERC.

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