DGCOAST – Modeling and Analysis of Coastal Hydrodynamics and Erosion

Reference: UTAP-EXPL/EAC/0056/2017

Coastal ocean regions around the world are hubs of transportation, zones of rich mineral resources, fisheries and recreation, and home to billions of people and diverse ecosystems. Many such regions are threatened by a variety of factors and the increasing risk and associated impacts have catalysed efforts to increase our understanding of the coastal ocean environment and our ability to make quantitative predictions of coastal hydrodynamics.

Accurate modelling of coastal ocean processes requires mathematical models which go beyond the traditional shallow water equations. In addition, understanding the true impacts of processes such as sea-level rise and severe storms requires coupling such models with transport models of sediment erosion/deposition.

In this project, we propose to build a numerical code based on hybridised discontinuous finite element methods for studying complex coastal hydrodynamics and sediment erosion with specific emphasis on regions of the Texas-U.S. and Portuguese coasts.

TitleAtmosphere – Ocean – Solid Earth Coupling: Seismic Tools to Explore and Monitor the Oceans
Scientific AreaSpace-Earth Interactions
Funding98 750,00€
Leading InstitutionAssociação do Instituto Superior Técnico para a Investigação e o Desenvolvimento (IST-ID)
Participating InstitutionsThe University of Austin at Texas (UT Austin)
Universidade de Coimbra (UC) 
Duration12 months
Begin date11th November, 2018
Key WordsHybridized discontinuous Galerkin Method, Coastal Erosion, Dispersive waves, Green-Naghdi Flow

Project Team

Juha Videman

Principal Investigator in Portugal

Clint Dawson

Principal Investigator in Austin


"In this exploratory project, we will use unique ocean and land-based seismic datasets, collected in and around the north Atlantic, both on the seafloor, ocean islands and margins, in order to study ocean processes and the internal structure of the Earth. Our workplan aims at proving concepts that, if successful, can later be applied to larger datasets and/or be used for operational/monitoring purposes. The project is structured around three main tasks: 1) Using seismic data to image ocean storms, assessing its results against meteorological reanalysis; 2) Evaluating the impact of the steep topography of ocean islands on the microseismic wavefield, with impact on imaging the sub-surface; 3) Using OBS data as a proxy for ocean bottom currents. The project will benefit from the collaboration between a strong Applied Mathematics team at the University of Texas, Austin and Earth Sciences researchers in Portugal."

Principal Investigators


“We will start testing our numerical code DGCOAST using real-world data”