Bilskie, M. V., S. C. Hagen, and S. C. Medeiros (2020), Unstructured finite element mesh decimation for real-time Hurricane storm surge forecasting, Coastal Engineering, Vol. 156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coastaleng.2019.103622
Abstract A previously developed research-grade (e.g. high-resolution) unstructured mesh of the northern Gulf of Mexico (named NGOM3) is optimized to produce a computationally efficient forecast-grade mesh for deployment in a real-time hurricane storm surge early warning system. The real-time mesh is developed from a mesh decimation scheme with focus on the coastal floodplain. The mesh decimation scheme reduces mesh nodes and elements from the research-grade mesh while preserving the representation of the bare-earth topography. The resulting real-time unstructured mesh (named NGOM-RT) contains 64% less mesh nodes than the research-grade mesh. Comparison of (ADCIRC + SWAN) simulated times-series and peak water levels to observations between the research-grade and real-time-grade meshes for Hurricanes Ivan (2004), Dennis (2005), Katrina (2005), and Isaac (2012) show virtually no difference. Model simulations with the NGOM-RT mesh are 1.5–2.0 times faster than using NGOM3 on the same number of compute cores.