Quick start guide for storm surge modeling

See also this youtube video and the related materials from the 2020 GeoClaw Developers Workshop.

To get started with a storm surge computation it is best to refer to a previous working example. For example, you might start with $CLAW/geoclaw/examples/storm-surge/ike. There are also a number of additional examples in the $CLAW/geoclaw/examples/storm-surge directory as well as some in the $CLAW/apps/surge-examples directory (this is actually a repository of examples that is actively updated). The primary input that one needs to provide for a new example usually involves two data source

  • Topography data: Data that specifies the topography and bathymetry of the region around the area of interest. For storm surge computations it is generally good practice to include entire oceanic basins so that you can ensure that flow into and out of the basin is resolved by the computation and is sufficiently distant from the computational domain’s boundaries.

  • Storm data: Of course we need to specify the particular storm that you are interested in. There are a number of ways to specify a storm which are described in Storm Specification Data. Sources for parameterized storms can also be found in Sources for Storm Surge Data and a description of how to include them in _surge_module.


This is a work in progress and only partially has been filled out. If you are interested in the rest of the steps or wish to contribute your own workflow please let us know!

Here we will concentrate on changing the Hurricane Ike example into one for Hurricane Katrina.

  1. First copy the files located in the Hurricane Ike directorty located at $CLAW/geoclaw/examples/storm-surge/ike.

  2. Next let’s find some better topography for the New Orleans area…

  3. Now let’s find a storm specification for Hurricane Katrina. In this example we will use the ATCF database. For Katrina this ends up being the file located `here <>`_.

  4. We now need to modify the setrun.py to use our new storm format and topography we now added…

  5. Finally we need to also modify the plotting so that we have an

  6. Gauges…

  7. Running the simulation…