O R E    P R O J E C T    D E S C R I P T I O N


  • ALOHA Cabled Observatory
    At 10:23 am on 6 June 2011, the ALOHA Cabled Observatory (ACO) saw �first light,� extending power, network communications and timing to a seafloor node and instruments at 4726 m water depth 100 km north of Oahu. Station ALOHA is the field site of the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) program that has investigated temporal dynamics in biology, physics, and chemistry since 1988. HOT conducts near monthly ship-based sampling and makes continuous observations from moored instruments to document and study climate and ecosystem variability over semi-diurnal to decadal time scales. The cabled observatory system will provide the infrastructure for continuous, interactive ocean sampling enabling new measurements as well as a new mode of ocean observing that integrates ship and cabled observations. The ACO is a prototypical example of a deep observatory system that uses a retired first-generation fiber-optic telecommunications cable. The system was installed using ROV Jason operated from the R/V Kilo Moana. Sensors now connected to the ACO provide live video of the surrounding seafloor, sound from local and distant sources, and measure currents, pressure, temperature, and salinity.
    PI: Bruce Howe, Roger Lukas, Fred Duennebier, David Karl
    ORE Participant: Bruce Howe
    Engineering : Grant Blackinton, Mark Tremblay, Jefrey Snyder, David Harris, Jim Jolly, Jim Babinec, Ethan Roth
    Networking and Data Management : Brian Chee, Ross Ishida, Pat Townsend, Sharon Stahl, Joseph Gum, Fernando Santiago-Mandujano
    Keyphrases:Real-time observations in the deep ocean, ocean sound, salinity , temperature, current
    Sponsor: National Science Foundation (2008-2013)


  • OTEC thermal resource studies (under the Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center project)
    The adequacy of Ocean General Circulation Models (OGCMs) to better assess available OTEC resources will be investigated.
    PI: R. Rocheleau (HNEI, UH)
    ORE Participant: G�rard C. Nihous
    Post-doc: Krishnakumar Rajagopalan
    Keyphrases:Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), resource assessment
    Sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy via HNEI (2009-2013)


  • Three-dimensional Model of Tsunami Generation and Near-field Characteristics
    Existing depth-integrated approaches to model tsunami generation from seismic data are known to underestimate coastal runup in varying degrees. This inconsistent performance presents a challenge to tsunami hazard assessment when long-term runup records are not available for model calibration. This study uses a three-dimensional finite element model of continuum mechanics to provide realistic descriptions of fault slippage and the resulting earth surface deformation. The time-history of seafloor deformation defines the boundary conditions for a non-hydrostatic model to describe the initial movement of the water near the seismic source and the subsequent generation of the tsunami. The proposed approach will be applied to reconstruct the 1975 Kalapana Earthquake in Hawaii and the 2003 Tokachi-oki Earthquake in Japan. Both earthquakes generated near-field tsunamis of significant amplitudes and produced well-recorded data for model validation. A parametric study will be conducted to define the applicability of conventional methods and develop correction factors to account for the kinetic energy and horizontal water displacement in tsunami generation.
    PI: Kwok Fai Cheung
    ORE Student: Yoshiki Yamazaki (MS 2004, continuing for PhD)
    Keyphrases: Earthquake, natural hazards, runup, tsunami
    Sponsor: NOAA Sea Grant (2007 - 2009)


  • Effects of Offshore Forcing in the Nearshore Environment
    We are carrying out a series of field observations, based at the Kilo Nalu Observatory, combined with numerical model simulations to investigate the influence of internal tides on the nearshore zone. Internal tides are ubiquitous features in the outer shelf and deep ocean (Wunsch, 1975); however, recent observations have demonstrated that these baroclinic waves can penetrate to the inner shelf, and in some settings, can drive current amplitudes that are comparable to wave and wind-driven flows.  The goals of this project are to further examine the importance of internal tide variations in the nearshore, to simulate their spatio-temporal behavior, and to assess their potential influence, in combination with surface wave forcing, on nearshore sediment transport.
    PIs: G. Pawlak, M. Merrifield
    Keyphrases: Internal Tides, Nearshore Dynamics, Sediment Transport
    Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (2006-2008)


  • Validation of Coastal Wave Models for Tropical Island Conditions
    The Hawaiian and other Pacific islands are subject to direct approach of large ocean swells generated by distant storms as well as high waves from tropical cyclones that impinge on the islands. The PILOT project of the US Army Corps of Engineers addresses these issues through measurements and modeling of the coastal waves on Oahu and Guam. The collected data provides a very good opportunity to evaluate and validates coastal wave models for tropical island conditions. This comparative study will identify the strengths and weaknesses of two spectral wave models, a Boussinesq model, and a nonlinear shallow-water model in describing wave transformation and breaking at tropical coasts and discuss the implications on runup calculations.
    PI: Kwok Fai Cheung
    ORE Students: Justin Goo, Pablo Duarte
    Post-doc: Yong Wei
    Keyphrases: Reefs, tropical coasts, waves, wave models
    Sponsor: US Army Corps of Engineers (2006)


  • Vulnerability of Honolulu Critical Infrastructure to Tsunamis
    Hawaii is vulnerable to tsunamis generated in the active subduction zones around the Pacific Rim. In the event of a tsunami, energy and electricity play a vital role in the emergency response and recovery of a community. Imported petroleum accounts for 89% of Hawaii's primary energy. On the island of Oahu, both oil refineries, power plants, and other critical facilities are located in Campbell Industrial Park. The project determines the tsunami inundation limit as a function of return period and assesses the risk of future tsunami damage to critical infrastructure at Campbell Industrial Park and the adjacent areas. Probabilistic analysis of subduction zone earthquakes will determine the recurrence of tsunamigenic events around the Pacific Rim, while two-dimensional modeling techniques will describe the corresponding tsunamis and their impacts to the coastline. The results will aid in mitigation efforts by designing new structures or retrofitting existing structures to expected tsunami flow conditions. The study will also be important to facilities storing hazardous material within the inundation zone and can potentially help limit pollution by increasing understanding of tsunami risks.
    PI: Kwok Fai Cheung
    ORE Student: Megan Craw
    Keyphrases: Earthquake, infrastructure, risk assessment, natural hazards, runup, tsunami, vulnerability
    Sponsor: NOAA Sea Grant (2006 - 2007)


  • Benthic Boundary Layer Geochemistry and Physics at the Kilo Nalu Observatory
    This project aims to significantly advance our ability to measure the transport of solutes into and out of permeable sediments, examine the seabed response to a wide range of physical forcing, and determine the pelagic ecosystem response to these processes. Detailed observations of the physical environment in the study domain are being carried out using the Kilo Nalu observational infrastructure to obtain an accurate characterization of the benthic boundary layer response to changes in physical forcing. Monitoring of the spatial variability in the physical and chemical environment is being carried out using a combination of shipboard and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) surveys, supplemented by satellite based remote sensing.
    PIs: G. Pawlak, F. Sansone, E. De Carlo, M. McManus, A. Hebert, T. Stanton
    Keyphrases: Ocean Observing, Turbulent Fluxes, Boundary Layer Dynamics, Benthic Exchange
    Sponsor: National Science Foundation Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP) program (2005-2008)


  • Real-time Observations of Oahu’s Coastal Environment
    The coastal marine environment is a vital economic and cultural resource for the State of Hawaii. The south shore of Oahu is a focal region for the state in terms of economic importance, but is also one of the most heavily burdened in terms of societal impact with potential effects on nearshore water quality from  point and non-point source (NPS) pollution from urban Honolulu. We are developing a set of observational tools based on those deployed on autonomous instrumented platforms such as CRIMP, that will enable a baseline, real-time characterization of the physical and biogeochemical environment of Oahu’s south shore.
    PIs: G. Pawlak and E. DeCarlo
    Keyphrases: Ocean Observing, Water Quality
    Sponsor: NOAA Sea Grant College Program (2005-2007)


  • Coastal Form Drag and Eddies
    This project uses field observations and numerical modeling to examine the formation and dissipation of a headland eddy in deep water.  Included in this is examination of the vertical structure of vorticity within an eddy and of the baroclinic response of the flow around the sloping headland.  Field observations involve the use of subsurface drogued drifters to follow individual eddies and examine the horizontal dispersion pattern, along with boat-mounted ADCP and CTD surveys which measure the 3-D flow structure over the tidal period.  
    PIs: G. Pawlak (collaborative with P. MacCready, U. Washington)
    Keyphrases: Headland Eddies, Form Drag, Horizontal Dispersion
    Sponsor: National Science Foundation (2004-2007)

  • Wave-Driven Porewater-Seawater Exchange in Sandy Sediments
    Shallow-water surface waves traveling above permeable sandy sediments can induce greatly enhanced mixing across the sediment-water interface and rapid transport of water and particles within the sediment. A key variable in quantifying this exchange is the rate of dispersion within the bed.   To address this, we are carrying out field observations of wave and current driven dispersion in sandy sediments at the Kilo Nalu Observatory.
    PIs: F. Sansone, M. Merrifield and G. Pawlak
    Keyphrases: Benthic Exchange, Porewater Dynamics, Dispersion
    Sponsor: National Science Foundation (2004-2007)


  • Hawaii Tsunami Mapping Project 3BB_Tank
    The State of Hawaii officially began the Hawaii Tsunami Mapping Project in January 2004. The 1475 km (915 miles) of coastlines of the six major Hawaiian Islands are divided into 28 segments for inundation and evacuation map updates. The project utilizes latest modeling techniques, demographic data, bathymetry and topography, and Geographical Information System (GIS) technology. The effort began with the Oahu North Shore segment, which has good runup records of major tsunamis during the last century. Reconstruction of these tsunamis using a two-dimensional long-wave model determines the 100-year inundation limit and flow depth. This data provides the county civil defense agencies a reference for evacuation map update. The historical runup records provide useful information for model and procedure calibration and assure the quality of the data products.
    PI: Kwok Fai Cheung
    Other Investigator: George Curtis
    ORE Students: Megan Craw, Justin Goo, Jane Mi (MS 2006), Sophie Munger, Volker Roeber, Alejandro S�nchez (MS 2006), Yong Wei (PhD 2006), Yoshiki Yamazaki (MS 2004, continuing for PhD)
    Keyphrases: Earthquake, evacuation, inundation, natural hazards, runup, tsunami
    Sponsor: Hawaii State Civil Defense (2004 - 2007).


  • Inverse Algorithm for Tsunami Forecast
    Hawaii has historically been subject to destructive tsunamis generated at the Alaska-Aleutian, Japan-Kuril-Kamchatka, and Chile-Peru source regions. The capability to forecast tsunami impacts across the ocean while it is still limited to the source is important to warning systems and emergency management. Water-level stations around the Pacific Rim can provide advance warning of tsunamis, but interpretation of the data for impacts at distant locations is subjective. This project has developed a computer algorithm that utilizes water-level data from these stations to qualitatively forecast tsunami waveforms and inundation at locations far away from the source. The initial work was performed in collaboration with the NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The inverse approach was subsequently adopted by NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory to provide tsunami forecasts for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.
    PI: Kwok Fai Cheung
    Other Investigators: Charles McCreery (Pacific Tsunami Warning Center), George Curtis (Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research)
    ORE Students: Alejandro S�nchez (MS 2006), Yong Wei (PhD 2006), Yoshiki Yamazaki (MS 2004, continuing for PhD)
    Keyphrases: Earthquake, natural hazards, tsunami, tsunami forecast, tsunami warning
    Sponsor: Hawaii State Civil Defense (1999 - 2007), NOAA Sea Grant College Program (2003 - 2007).


  • Modeling of Hurricane Winds, Waves, Surge, and Overwash at Landfall
    This is an on-going research effort funded directly and indirectly by several agencies. The research over the years has developed an ensemble of interoperable numerical models that includes a suite of hurricane wind models, a shallow-water hydrodynamic model, a global tidal model, a spectral ocean wave model, a spectral coastal wave model, and a Boussinesq model. The model package describes the meteorological conditions, astronomical tides and storm surge, wave generation, propagation, and nearshore transformation, and coastal processes and overwash with a nested grid system. A web-based GIS interface is being developed to allow users to define the model domain, generate input data, build the analysis process, and view the output with other data layers. The computed wind speeds, wave conditions, storm-water levels, and inundation limits have been validated with measured data from Hurricanes Iwa and Iniki, which hit the Hawaiian Island of Kauai in 1982 and 1992, as well as Hurricane Bob, which made landfall at Southern New England in 1991. Current research includes implementation of the polynomial chaos method to provide probabilistic forecasts of hurricane impacts and coastal inundation.
    PI: Kwok Fai Cheung
    ORE Students: Douyere (MS 2003), Christopher Martino (MS 2000), Amal Phadke (PhD 2001), Raymond Rojas (MS 2001), Yong Wei (PhD 2006), Ge Liang
    Post-doc and visiting scholars: Nicholas Dodd, Shijun Liao, Liujuan Tang, Zhixia Zhu
    Keyphrases: hurricanes, natural hazards, overwash, storm surge, waves
    Sponsor: NASA Office of Earth Science (1999 - 2002), Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Inc. (2003 - 2004), Office of Naval Research (2002 - 2008)


  • Environment for Design of Advanced Marine Vehicles and Operations Research (ENDEAVOR)
    ENDEAVOR is a congressional program funded to a team headed by the University of Hawaii in partnership with Science Applications International Corporation, Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC), and Hawaii-based Navatek Ltd. The web-based system, which includes archived and forecast ocean data, enables ship performance analysis, mission planning, and emergency management with a realistically simulated ocean environment. The physics-based models and simulation tools in the system cover climatology, hurricanes, storm surge, tides, ocean waves, coastal processes and currents, wave resistance, viscous drag, propulsion, maneuvering, motions, controls, and hydroelasticity. A web-based GIS interface is being developed to allow users to define the model domain, generate input data, build the analysis process, and view the output with other data layers.
    PI: Kwok Fai Cheung
    Other Investigators: Robert Dant (MHPCC), Cengiz Ertekin, Woei-Min Lin (SAIC), Geno Pawlak, Ron Riggs, Gabriel Zee (Navatek Ltd.)
    ORE Students: Yefei Bai, Long Chen (MS 2006), Robert Crabtree (MS 2005), Suvabrata Das, Eric Hahn (MS 2003), Monte Hansen (MS 2005, continuing for PhD), Ge Liang, Shailesh Namekar, Kumur Rajagopalan, Justin Stopa, Kristen Woo (MS 2003), Andrew Wycklendt (MS 2005), Yongyan Wu, Jinghai Yang (MS 2004), Hongqiang Zhou (MS 2003)
    Post-docs and visiting scholars: Jiyeon Kim, Xian-zhong Mao, Liujuan Tang, Chen-jun Yang
    Software Engineer: Jeff Beck
    Keyphrases: climatology, geographical information system, hurricanes, storm surge, tides, ocean waves, coastal processes and currents, wave resistance, viscous drag, propulsion, maneuvering, motions, controls, and hydroelasticity
    Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (2002 - 2008)