Contact Us  |  Search  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
Home About Us For Applicants For Grant Recipients Funded Projects Email Updates
Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 3 (2014 Deadline)

Tsunami waves impacts on coastal morphological changes based on sediment transport numerical simulations

PI:  Syamsidik (, Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center (TDMRC), Syiah Kuala University
U.S. Partner: Philip L.-F. Liu, Cornell University
Project Dates: September 2014 to September 2016

The Return of the Coast documentary produced by the project team.

Since its initial development, numerical tsunami simulation was expected to provide explanations for the hydraulics regime as it relates to tsunami wave propagation and inundation. Limited models have been developed and tested for investigating the impacts of tsunami waves on coastal morphological changes. Even fewer research studies have been done in tsunami-affected areas to estimate tsunami wave impacts. This research team will be focusing on coupling sediment transport modules inside the tsunami wave propagation model in order to estimate coastal morphological changes caused by wave forces. The research will focus on the Banda Aceh Coast of Indonesia, an area that was severely damaged by the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, with most of its coastal areas recovered by means of natural processes or hard coastal structures.

The project will aim to (1) investigate the impacts of tsunami wave forces to erode coastal morphology by developing numerical simulations; (2) locate the source of origins of sediment that transported and deposited around the coastal plain and land affected area; and (3) simulate the coastal morphology recovery process by incorporating recent coastal process around the selected tsunami-affected coast and provide recommendations for a better reconstruction process around tsunami-affected coasts. This research project will not only attempt to extend the well-known model of tsunami wave propagation, namely COMCOT, but will also try to incorporate the bouncing process of the tsunami wave-affected coasts to recover the eroded coasts. The coastal morphology recovery model, namely Delft3D, is anticipated to help simulate mid-term and long-term coastal morphological changes. The results of this research study will give a clearer understanding about sources of sediments during the tsunami, deposition mechanisms, and the role of sediment transport during the coastal recovery process. The findings of this project will provide scientists and disaster responders with knowledge on how to manage coastal areas in order to mitigate the impacts of the tsunami waves more effectively, as well as suggest alternative measures to accelerate coastal morphology recovery processes.

Summary of Recent Activities

3-147 Team uses CTD Profiler
The team experiments with a newly arrived CTD Profiler (photo courtesy of Dr. Syamsidik).
The study areas for this project were at two locations in Aceh Besar District of Indonesia. Site 1 was on the Ujong Pancu Coast of Aceh Besar, located at the western part of Banda Aceh, and Site 2 was around Lhoong Sub-District of Aceh Besar, located about 40 km west of Banda Aceh. Dr. Syamsidik and his team collected bathymetry data from Ujong Pancu, topography data from Site 2, and sediment property data from both sites. They also measured the current profiles at Site 1 to understand the hydrodynamic regime around this area that might contributed to the recovery of the coastal area at the site after it was severely eroded by the 2004 tsunami. At Site 2, a number of trench tests were made to investigate tsunami sediment deposits in order to validate the results of numerical simulations. They found that their GIS analysis proved that the recovery process in this study area was good in the areas used for housing but the land did not recover so well where there were ponds, mangroves, and paddy fields. Although the coastal profile of this area has recovered to a great extent, the environmental recovery of this coastal area has yet to support the return of productive aquaculture activities and mangrove areas around the study area. Therefore, the researchers identified needs for a sustainable environmental recovery in this area more than ten years after the Indian Ocean tsunami.

In order to enhance local capacity to understand recent advances in tsunami-related studies, the team conducted one five-day training course in Aceh for young researchers and students. The training was delivered specifically to train the participants to understand numerical modelling for tsunami wave propagation. The participants were introduced to basic numerical schemes and were trained to run the Cornell Multi-Grid Coupled Tsunami model (COMCOT). At the last stage of the training, the participants learned methods for visualizing results and presenting simulation results as clearly as possible. In addition, the PI Dr. Syamsidik attended an OpenFOAM training in London, where he learned methods for simulating Reynold Average Navier Stokes cases (RANS) for hydro-dynamic modeling. OpenFoam could be useful for researchers at TDMRC to develop more detailed simulations of the impacts of tsunami waves on specific coastal and harbor structures.

Thanks to PEER funding, the team has purchased an acoustic Doppler current profiler and a conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTD) profiler. These instruments enabled them to observe hydrodynamic conditions and map suspended sediment distribution around the study site. The equipment has also been used by undergraduate and graduate students at Syiah Kuala University during field work.

As of the end of the project in September 2016, the team has published four papers in journals, two conference papers, and one book chapter, all of them peer reviewed. They still have two more papers to be submitted to international journals by the end of 2016. The team has also presented their activities in two documentary videos, one on the National Symposium on Tsunami Mitigation (December 2015) and another on their research activities and findings. This PEER project also contributed to the designation of the Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center (TDMRC) of Syiah Kuala University as a provisional Center of Excellence (CoE) in Tsunami Mitigation by the Indonesian Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education (RISTEKDIKTI). Dr. Syamsidik and TDMRC have been selected to receive a new PEER award in Cycle 5 of the program to continue and expand on their work.

Back to PEER Science Cycle 3 Grants