Surge & Wave Island Modeling
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers areas of responsibility include many islands in the
tropical Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Typically, islands are volcanic, with
narrow coasts and rugged interiors.
Coastal roads and communities are a vital
part of island society. Many island coasts
face exposure to vast expanses of open
ocean. Fortunately, wave climates are
generally mild, but powerful tropical
storms can occasionally strike. Often a
protective coral reef helps shield island
shores from the huge waves that can be
generated in an intense storm.
View Near Inarajan, U.S. Territory of Guam
Nonetheless, island roads and
communities can suffer great damage due to storm-raised water levels and high waves
which break and run up on shore. Measurements of storm-generated waves and water
levels along island coasts are now being collected under the Pacific Islands Land-Ocean
Typhoon (PILOT) Experiment.
Methodologies for analyzing hurricane/typhoon waves and their interaction with island
coasts, including fringing coral reefs, have not received attention commensurate with the
importance and complexity of the processes. SWIMS is a 5-year effort with initial funding
in 2005. A next generation island coastal storm surge and wave model will be developed
and validated. SWIMS validation will take advantage of field data collected under PILOT
and physical model data collected under SWIMS and a preceding study. The SWIMS
numerical model technology will be developed with recognition of the need to configure it
for future practical coastal inundation applications.
The new methodology will more realistically represent coastal inundation sites and
processes. Wave, wind, and water level interaction with fringing reefs and coastal
topography will be modeled more comprehensively and accurately than previously
available model technology for island studies. Also, new physical model databases
representative of island coasts will be available. The SWIMS numerical model and
physical model products will lead to more reliable future studies for flood insurance,
emergency management, and other applications.
U.S. Army Engineer District, Honolulu (HED); Hawaii State Civil Defense
Dr. Edward F. Thompson, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center,
Point of Contact
ATTN: CEERD-HN-H, 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180-6199; e-mail:
Edward.F.Thompson@erdc.usace.army.mil or Stanley J. Boc, e-mail:
. Additional information can be found at
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (Coastal Field Data Collection Program)