Multi-Scale Modeling of Hydrodynamics in Arabian Gulf
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Qatar, as well as many Gulf states, have significant assets along their coastlines which are critical to their populations; these include desalinization plants, water treatment facilities, transportation infrastructure (tunnels, bridges, etc.), and land reclamation projects. These coastal assets are in low-lying areas which are vulnerable to both short term phenomena (storms, high waves) and long term processes (sea level rise, global climate change). Damage in Oman and the United Arab Emirates from Cyclone Gonu in 2007 (estimated at $4.2 billion USD) demonstrated this vulnerability to storms. The effect of sea level rise, along with increased coastal infrastructure and assets to meet the demands of the Gulf state population, will exacerbate the damage (economic and otherwise) that future large events will cause in the region. Unfortunately, there is little information on short term climatological aspects of the wave and hydrodynamic characteristics of the Gulf, and virtually no information on how well-accepted scenarios for future climate change will impact the area. This lack of information makes effective long term planning impossible. Finally, little information regarding routine near term forecasts for the area exists. We propose to develop and implement a numerical modeling system for the Gulf which can provide forecast information on surface waves, tides, three-dimensional currents, and turbulence mixing and fluxes. The modeling system will span the entire Gulf, with high-resolution prediction in areas of interest (e.g. near vulnerable infrastructure, causeways, etc.) The modeling system will be developed in conjunction with other projects (one of which is presently supported by QNRF), which will provide field data to be used for calibration and validation of the modeling system. These present projects are (or will be) sited in the northern Gulf (Kuwait) and the coast of Qatar near Doha. The resulting modeling system will be developed for hindcasts (to provide climatology), short term forecasts (1-3 days in advance) and long-term scenarios (multi-decade climate change scenarios). Output fields from the modeling system will include wave height statistics, tidal elevations, three dimensional current fields, salinity, temperature, and turbulence fields. In addition, tracers can also be included in the model in order to track the path and diffusion of passive scalars in the flow; this could potentially be used as a proxy for various pollutants in the water (e.g. weathered spilled oil which has surfaced). By the end of the project, a robust forecast system will have been developed and various long-range climate change scenarios determined.