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Related Fact Sheet International Research Office


Posted 12/9/2016

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By Russell Harmon, Ph.D.
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, International Research Office


The Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, also known as the French Geological Survey, is a public industrial and commercial institution that applies earth science knowledge to the management of surface and subsurface resources and risks to meet the societal challenges of today and the future. BRGM was formed in 1959, has a staff of around 1,100, a strong infrastructure of laboratories, experimental facilities and information technology, and a business model quite similar to that of Engineer Research and Development Center.

Because of this similarity, ERDC began an interaction with BRGM in April 2016 with a Science and Technology engagement by Drs. Sally Shoop and Susan Frankenstein from the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, who visited the BRGM Natural Hazards Division to discuss mutual interests in vehicle mobility. During this visit, it was ascertained that ERDC and BRGM share several technical areas of common interest that include mobility analysis, near-surface geophysics, soil moisture mapping, coastal process modeling, environmental remediation, uncertainty in modeling and simulation, big data analytics and data assimilation, and decision support systems.

This led to a second visit to BRGM in October 2016, this time by a Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory team of Ty Wamsley and Chris Massey that was hosted by BRGM’s Coastal and Climate Change Risk Group. The main topic of discussion was ideas for developing R&D cooperation related to coastal process modeling. One idea focused on the mutual interest of ERDC and BRGM in WAVEWATCH III, the third generation open-source global and regional wind and wave model produced by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s National Center for Environmental Prediction for forecasting wind speed over ocean areas and consequent induced wave fields.

BGRM has an unstructured grid for Reunion Island, which CHL could use to couple its Coastal Storm Modeling System for storm surge/wave forecasting to WAVEWATCH III, which would advance the long-term ERDC goal of bringing near-shore processes into WAVEWATCH III. As a part of this effort, CHL could work with the Information Technology Laboratory to improve the parallelization scheme in the WAVEWATCH III code and then use this computationally efficient product to model one or two very complex estuaries along the French coast.

Another project of mutual interest would be to apply CHL’s Coastal Modeling System and CSTORM-MS in combination with the Gridded Surface Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis land surface hydrologic model to undertake a case study of the Saint Suzanne estuary on Reunion Island, a very geomorphologically complex estuary that closes seasonally due to longshore sedimentation. This case would be benchmarked by BRGM using monitoring data and their TELEMAC and SWAN modeling results. Two other areas of mutual interest centered on ensemble modeling and uncertainty propagation through coupled models and each organizations connection to the University of Delaware in the context of Boussinesq modeling of waves in the nearshore environment.

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