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Organization DHA NEC R&D projects G-CAST - Application of GRID-computing in a coastal morphodynamics nowcast - forecast sistem

> G-CAST - Application of GRID-computing in a coastal morphodynamics nowcast - forecast sistem


Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil

Research team

LNEC: Anabela Oliveira (coordinator), Maria Alzira Santos, André Fortunato, Paula Freire, Xavier BERTIN, Marta Rodrigues, João Palha Fernandes

Nicolas Bruneau, Mário Costa, Gonçalo de Jesus

Aveiro University: João Miguel Sequeira Silva Dias, Paulo Manuel da Cruz Alves da Silva Alfredo Rocha, Carina Lopes


The ability to simulate and forecast the long-term dynamics of estuarine and coastal zones is fundamental to assess the social, ecological and economical impacts of both human interventions and climate changes in these regions.

A growing need to address this problem, fuelled in Europe by the Water Framework Directive and other legislation, has fostered the development of computational nowcast-forecast systems that provide predictions of several physical, chemical and biological quantities at short time scales, by integrating suites of models and field data.

However, the large temporal and spatial scales involved in the long-term integrated simulation of the water and sediment dynamics of coastal regions as well as the complexity of the processes and uncertainty associated with the impact of climate changes require computational resources that were almost inexistent in the past. Grid computing is now emerging as an attractive and accessible tool for the modeling community to solve long-term, large scale problems in estuarine and coastal areas.

Pilot applications are being developed in several places in the USA and Europe, but none is currently being done in Portugal. The availability of vast shared computational resources within the Grid computing community and a suite of parallel-processing models provide, for the first time, the means for an adequate scientific support for the sustainable long-term management of coastal systems.

G-cast aims at combining the novel computational resources provided by Grid computing and the team expertise in the use of existing state-of-the-art numerical models to develop an exploratory analysis of the impact of climate changes on the long-term morphodynamic evolution of coastal zones. This goal will be achieved through

  • 1) the adaptation of a suite of models within an existing morphodynamic modeling system to Grid-computing environment;
  • 2) the integration of this modeling system in a nowcast-forecast computational system adapted for the Portuguese coast, and
  • 3) its exploratory application to the analysis of climate change in the long-term morphodynamic dynamics of two contrasting coastal systems: the Óbidos lagoon and the Aveiro lagoon.

These tasks will take advantage of the pilot Grid developed in the scope of the Rede Nacional de Computação Avançada (REDE/1513/RCA/2005), funded by FCT through the Re-equipamento Científico Program. During the course of the G-Cast project, LNEC´s node of this pilot Grid will be adapted to use int.eu.grid middleware, a variation of the European project EGEE (Enabling Grids forE-sciencE) middleware, developed for interactive applications. The integration of these tools will provide a Grid-based pilot nowcast-forecast system for hydrodynamic and morphodynamic problems that can be applied to any Portuguese estuarine and coastal region, based on a suite of parallel-processing models, prepared to run in a Grid environment.

G-cast constitutes thus the first step towards a new approach to operational oceanography in Portugal, by including both hydrodynamic and morphodynamic processes. The project will also promote the use of Grid computing in the Portuguese coastal modeling community, by demonstrating its importance in long-term morphodynamic applications to two coastal systems with distinct characteristics. These applications will analyze the impact of climate changes in the morphodynamics of the Óbidos lagoon, a small, but highly-dynamic system, with strong migration of its inlet, and in the morphodynamics of the Aveiro lagoon, a large, complex and human-modified system, whose inlet is constrained by two large breakwaters.



  • to demonstrate the usefulness of GRID computing in the simulation of coastal and estuarine processes, using long-term morphological evolution as an example, and the Aveiro and the Óbidos lagoons as testbeds;
  • to use the new GRID of the “Rede Nacional de Computação Avançada” to improve the simulation of complex coastal problems;
  • to improve a nowcast-forecast system, by integrating a morphodynamic modeling system;
  • to improve the performance of an existing morphodynamic modeling system by fully parallelizing its modules;
  • to understand the long-term effects of climate change (sea-level rise, increased storminess) on the evolution of selected coastal systems;
  • to compare the relative importance of this problem in two distinct coastal systems;
  • to educate a new generation of researchers in the use of GRID technologies;
  • to create and strengthen partnerships between engineers, computer scientists and physicists with common interests in coastal sciences.


G-cast is a pioneer project in grid-based coastal modeling in Portugal, which will demonstrate the advantage of using large-scale, shared computational resources in analysing long-term processes. As such, this project is expected to have significant impact in the way coastal studies will be performed in the future. In the short-term, G-cast will decrease at least by an order of magnitude the computational time required by any simulation of a process-based morphodynamics modeling system for an estuary or coastal zone. Also in the short-run, this demonstration project will contribute to boost the use of the Rede Nacional de Computação Avançada (RNCA) funded by FCT.

In the medium- and long-run, G-cast is expected i) to extend the limits of predictability of morphodynamic models contributing to enhance the management of the Portuguese estuaries; ii) to foster the incorporation of a better description of the physical processes in existing models and iii) to enable extensive numerical experimentation, thus providing new insight into morphodynamics processes.

From a management point of view, G-cast will improve the current knowledge on the impacts of climate changes in the morphodynamics of the Óbidos lagoon and the Aveiro lagoon. Simultaneously, the setting-up of the nowcast-forecast systems will also contribute towards the future availability of reliable forecasts for waves, currents and water levels in the two systems.

The project also involves a suite of educational activities at LNEC, UA and OHSU targeting several young researchers at different stages of their careers. These students will benefit from the mentoring of an interdisciplinary network of experts in information technology, estuarine and coastal analysis and computer science, thereby gaining early career introductions in a wide range of areas such as numerical modeling, parallel programming, grid-computing and long-term morphodynamic analysis. Participation in workshops related to several of these themes will provide an additional opportunity for these students to exchange their experience with other colleagues in the same field of research and to provide them with a network of contacts.

Selected results


a) Computational times and performance of the WW3 model; b) Computation times for different settings of model SWAN. c-d) Computation time distribution among the several modules of the morphodynamic model MORSYS2D; e) Comparison of CPU times for different compilation options of the hydrodinamic models (ELCIRC 2D, SELFE 3D and ADCIRC 2D); f) example of a 6-month evolution of the bathymetry of the Óbidos lagoon.


Use of a Morphodynamic modeling system in a Grid environment

Keynote video

Monitoring and Environmental prediction in age of Colaboratories:
Oxigen demand, Red tides and other tales of the Coumbia River

dada pelo Prof. Dr. António Melo Baptista (CMOP - Center for Coastal Margin Observation & Prediction) a 24 de Maio de 2011

to access the video click here


Books and Book chapters
  • Bertin, X., A.B. Fortunato e D. Roelvink, 2010. Morphodynamic Modeling of Tidal Inlets and Embayments, M. Maanan e M. Robin (eds.), Geomatic Solutions For Coastal Environments, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 17 pp.
  • Plecha, S., Silva, P.A., Oliveira, A., Dias, J.M., 2011. Sediment Transport Modeling and Morphological Trends at a Tidal Inlet. In: Sediment Transport / Book 1. (ed) Dr. Andrew Manning, ISBN 978-953-307-327-9
  • Actas da Conferência sobre Morfodinâmica Estuarina e Costeira, 3-4 Fevereiro, LNEC, Lisboa, em CD.
Peer-reviewed articles International conference proceedings
  • Fortunato, A.B.; L. Pinto; P. Freire; Bertin, X.; A. Oliveira. (2008) Sand transport in surface waters: an uncertainty analysis, 8th. World Congress on Computational Mechanics (WCCM8), CD-ROM, 2 pp.
  • Costa, M., A. Oliveira., M. Rodrigues e A.Azevedo. (2009). Application of Parallel, High-Performance Computing in Coastal Environmental Modeling: Circulation and Ecological Dynamics in the Portuguese Coast, Proceedings da 3rd Iberian Grid Infrastruture, Hernandez Garcia et al (eds), 375-386.
  • Lopes, C.L., Rocha, A., Silva P.A., Dias, J.M., 2009. Sea level projections for the Portuguese coast during the 21st century. 6º Simposium sobre el Margen Ibérico Atlantico – MIA09, Oviedo, 1-5 Dezembro 2009
  • Costa, M., Bruneau, N., Oliveira, A. e Fortunato, A.B. 2010. Optimizing I/O in a morphodynamic model, Ibergrid 2010, Proença et al (eds), 485-488.
  • De Jesus, de G., Oliveira, A., Santos, M.A. and Palha-Fernandes, J. (2010). Development of a Dam-break Flood Emergency System, Proceedings of the 7th International ISCRAM Conference, 5 pp,CD.
  • Bruneau, N., Fortunato, A.B., Oliveira, A., Bertin, X., Costa, M. e Dodet, G. 2010. Towards long-term simulations of tidal inlets: performance analysis and application of a partially parallelized morphodynamic modeling system, Computational Methods in Water Resources XVIII, 8 pp, CD.
  • Lopes, C.L., Silva, P.A., Dias, J.M., Rocha, A., Picado, A., Plecha, S., 2010. Impacts of sea level rise in Ria de Aveiro Lagoon during 21st century, 1st International Conference Coastal Zone Management of River Deltas and Low Land Coastlines Alexandria 6-10 Março 2010
  • Ribeiro; N. A., M. Rodrigues; G. Dodet; G. Jesus; A. Oliveira; A.B. Fortunato; A. Azevedo; A.M. Baptista; P. Turner, 2011. Sistema de previsão em tempo real da circulação e agitação marítima para as zonas costeiras e estuarinas, Actas do VI Congresso sobre Planeamento e Gestão das Zonas Costeiras dos Países de Expressão Portuguesa, 12 pp, em CD-ROM
  • Azevedo, A., A. Oliveira, J. C. P. B. da Silva, A. B. Fortunato. 2011. SISTEMA INTEGRADO DE MODELAÇÃO DE DERRAMES DE HIDROCARBONETOS NO MEIO MARINHO. Actas do VI Congresso sobre Planeamento e Gestão das Zonas Costeiras dos Países de Expressão Portuguesa, 12 pp, em CD-ROM
National conference proceedings
  • Silva, P.A., Dias, J.M., 2008. Efeitos das alterações climáticas na Ria de Aveiro: estudo de revisão e propostas de cenários. CLIMA 2008 – 1º Congresso Nacional sobre Alterações Climáticas, 1 pp.
  • Fortunato, A.B., A. Oliveira, X. Bertin, N. Bruneau, A. Nahon, M. Guerreiro, M. Costa, L. Pinto (2010). Simulação numérica da morfodinâmica de embocaduras, 1as Jornadas de Engenharia Hidrográfica, 4pp, CD-ROM
  • Oliveira, A., A.B. Fortunato, A.M. Baptista, P.Turner, G. Jesus, M. Rodrigues , N. A. Ribeiro, A. Mendes , J.P. Fernandes , A. Azevedo, N. Bruneau, G. Dodet (2010). Sistema de previsão em tempo real para a circulação estuarina e costeira., 1ªs Jornadas de Engenharia Hidrográfica, IH, Lisboa, 4 pp.
  • Oliveira, A., M. Rodrigues, A. B. Fortunato, G. Jesus, N.A. Ribeiro, G. Dodet e J.M. Dias. 2011. Previsão em Tempo Real da Circulação na Ria de Aveiro, Actas das Jornadas da Ria de Aveiro 2011, Almeida et al. (eds.), 310-315.
  • Bruneau, N., A. B. Fortunato, G. Dodet e A. Oliveira. GERAÇÃO DE CLIMAS DE ONDAS REPRESENTATIVOS: APLICAÇÃO À EVOLUÇÃO MORFODINÂMICA DA LAGOA DE ÓBIDOS, , in Conferência sobre Morfodinâmica Estuarina e Costeira-MEC2011, 3rd – 4th February 2011, Lisbon, Portugal;
  • Bruneau, N., A. Azevedo, M. Costa, A. Oliveira, A. B. Fortunato, X. Bertin, A. Nahon e M. Guerreiro, MORSYS2D: UM SISTEMA OPERACIONAL DE MODELAÇÃO MORFODINÂMICA PARCIALMENTE PARALELIZADO PARA ZONAS COSTEIRAS, , in Conferência sobre Morfodinâmica Estuarina e Costeira – MEC2011, 3rd – 4th February 2011, Lisbon, Portugal;
  • Plecha, S., Lopes, C.L., Silva, P.A., Oliveira, A., Dias, J.M, 2011. Evolução morfodinâmica da embocadura da Ria de Aveiro, in Jornadas da Ria de Aveiro 2011, 2nd – 4th May 2011, pp.187-196, Aveiro, Portugal, ISBN 978-972-789-337-9
  • Plecha, S., Silva, P.A., Oliveira, A., Dias, J.M., 2011. Modelação morfodinâmica da embocadura da Ria de Aveiro, in Conferência sobre Morfodinâmica Estuarina e Costeira, 3rd – 4th February 2011, Lisbon, Portugal;
  • Lucas, B., 2007. "Utilização da programação paralela no DHA", REL 334/2007-NTI, Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, Lisboa, 57pp. (publicado)
  • Kenoufi, A. 2008. Grid Computing Systems’ perspectives for LNEC/DHA. Relatório LNEC/NTI, Agosto de 2008, 45 pp.
  • Bruneau N., Fortunato, A. B., Oliveira, A. (2010). Impacte das alterações climáticas na embocadura da Lagoa de Óbidos - Relatório de actividades do Doutor Nicolas Bruneau no projecto G-CAST, RELATÓRIO 194/2010 – NEC, LNEC.
  • Lopes, C. L., 2010. Impactos da subida do nível médio do mar na Ria de Aveiro no séc. XXI. Tese de mestrado em Meteorologia e Oceanografia Física, Universidade de Aveiro.

Other projects

EMERA - Morphodynamic study of the Ria de Aveiro inlet

IMMATIE - Improvement of a morphodynamic model applied to tidal inlet environments

Long-term morphodynamic evolution of estuaries and lagoons

Hydrodynamics and transport in estuaries and lagoons

última modificação: 2013-05-20 16:50