This grant provides partial travel support for students and early-career scientists attending the Third Symposium on Shallow Flows, a joint meeting of scientists and engineers to be held 4-6 June 2012 at the University of Iowa. This meeting, which is co-sponsored by the International Association of Hydraulic Research, will facilitate exchange of the latest findings and approaches relevant to diverse phenomena including stable atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers, river- and hurricane-induced floods, flow through riparian-zone vegetation and associated hydrological processes, and transport of contaminants by these flows.

The Intellectual Merit of this activity derives from exchange of information focused on the improvement of experimental and eddy-resolving numerical techniques necessary to investigate large-scale quasi two-dimensional coherent structures and their role in the transport of mass, heat and contaminants in the geophysical environment. Broader Impacts will occur through improved assessment and forecasting of near-surface meteorological, hydrological and ecological processes and associated socio-economic impacts (such as those from flooding), and by furthering the educational development and diverse representation among students and early-career researchers.

Project Report

The International Symposium on Shallow Flows (ISSF) series of symposia was established by the International Association of Hydraulic Research. ISSF is the key international meeting in the area of shallow flows. The meeting is held every 5-6 years and attracts scientists and engineers interested in understanding fundamental physics of shallow flows as well as in applications of shallow flows in diverse areas including geosciences, coastal and river engineering, eco-hydrology and atmospheric dynamics. Recent natural and anthropogenic disasters such as floods, hurricane damage, oil spills and mudslides, have been critical components of the national discourse. Many on-going modeling efforts in these applications employ shallow water models. In particular, understanding and predicting shallow flows and related transport and dispersion of heat, sediment and contaminants as well as fluid-driven ecological processes are very important for a wide range of environmental problems at various scales. In nature, shallow water flows often occur over alluvial beds, and investigations on morphodynamics processes in shallow flows is a major current thrust of shallow flow research. Shallow flow approximations are also common in studying stratified flows, in particular, stratified wakes and gravity currents, since the aspect ratio of such flows become large due to inhibition of vertical scales of motion by stable stratification. In many shallow aquatic environments, the interactions among flow, turbulence, vegetation, macroinvertebrates and other organism as wellas the transport and retention of particulate matter, have important consequences on the ecological health of rivers, marshes and coastal areas. The 3rd ISSF symposium was organized for the first time in the U.S. by the University of Iowa and the University of Notre Dame. The Symposium is co organized by IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering of the University of Iowa (Convener: George Constantinescu) and by the Department of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at the University of Notre Dame (Co-Convenor: H.J.S. Fernando). The meeting was co-sponsored by the International Association of Hydraulic Research (IIHR), the National Science Foundation(NSF), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-EWRI) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The symposium provided a common forum for discussions among researchers and groups active in shallow flows research using state-of-the-art experimental, field and numerical investigation methods, fostered collaboration and rapid dissemination of latest findings. The symposium provided an opportunity for discussing how novel methods and techniques developed in a certain area of shallow flows can be used interchangeably in various fields and application areas of engineering and science. The 3rd ISSF symposium was the first in the series to introduce ecological aspects and large scale geophysical flows as main topics. A special session honoring the contributions of the late Prof. G. Jirka was organized as part of the symposium. Facilitating the attendance of young and mid career scientists as well as graduate students was a major goal for the organizers. Among the 140 researchers attending the symposium from 23 countries, close to 50 were graduate students. As a direct result of NSF sponsorship, we were able to facilitate the participation of 12 graduate students and young scientists, of which three were women. An important public education objective was to take advantage of the meeting to increase awareness of the importance of shallow flows for the society. Six recognized international experts in shallow flows presented plenary talks, focusing on broader applications of shallow flows for environmental problems and their broader implications for society. NSF support contributed to make possible the participation of these top international experts. A number of 170 papers were presented during the symposium. The CD-ROM containing all scientific contributions will be made available free of charge to the International Association of Hydraulic Research (IIHR) members. This will allow further dissemination of the symposium contributions to a wider scientific community. Given the recent catastrophic floods that affected the U.S. Midwest as well as manyof the coastal regions of the U.S, a main focus of the symposium was the impacts of floods and the effects of failure of hydraulic structures during floods (e.g., levees). These phenomena are generally simulated using shallow flow models. Several sessions and one plenary talk lecture focused on prediction and monitoring of river and hurricane induced floods and their impact on the environment. To broaden the impact of the ISSF Symposium, we contacted the Environmental Fluid Mechanics journal and obtained approval to organize and produce a special issue containing several review papers on important aspects of shallow flows as well as extended versions of papers presented during the symposium. Dr. Constantinescu, the ISSF chairman is the guest editor of this special issue which is expected to be published in 2014. We think the special issue has the potential to become a main reference for scientists interested in shallow flows and their application in the environment.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS)
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Bradley F. Smull
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University of Iowa
Iowa City
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