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Modeling – Mapping the flood

The TRITON model provides a detailed visualization of the flooding that resulted when Hurricane Harvey stalled over Houston for four days in 2017. Credit: Mario Morales-Hernández/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A new tool from Oak Ridge National Laboratory can help planners, emergency responders and scientists visualize how flood waters will spread for any scenario and terrain.

The Two-dimensional Runoff Inundation Toolkit for Operational Needs, or TRITON, leverages the power of modern supercomputing to quickly create detailed flood forecasts based on meteorology, hydrology, terrain and surface conditions.

Free and available for use, TRITON can be downloaded in formats compatible with standard computer systems and with advanced architectures such as ORNL’s Summit supercomputer. Running the model on Summit’s modern architecture speeds processing by 40 times compared to conventional high-performance computing.

“The ultimate aim of this model is to support operational inundation forecasting for a range of applications, from infrastructure safety to national security,” said ORNL’s Shih-Chieh Kao who leads the project. “Understanding how a flood wave will propagate across a region or city enables appropriate planning and response.” (Watch video)