Welcome to the Coastal Engineering Group at the University of Southern California. The faculty in this group have comprehensive expertise in understanding and engineering for coastal processes. We have active research in the topical areas of extreme coastal events such as tsunamis and cyclones, fundamental fluid mechanics and turbulence, and coastal sustainability and resilience. Please follow the links on this page to find more about our research, the individual faculty, and opportunities for undergraduate and graduate education.
Faculty are often looking for new MS/PhD students and post-doctorate associates to compliment project portfolios. If you are interested in coastal research, and have a background in engineering, physics, or applied mathematics, we encourage you to contact a faculty member to discuss. To initiate contact, please review the research areas of the faculty listed on this site, and then email faculty with a brief statement of your interests and an updated CV. USC and the Viterbi School of Engineering offer significant fellowship incentives to attract top graduate students to the program, particularly those coming from prestigious domestic universities.
Recent Funding and News
8/25/2015: The USC Coastal Engineering group constructs an "augmented reality sandbox", based of efforts at UC-Davis. See a local elementary student interacting with the exhibit here. The system is currently being modified to include tsunami and wind wave interaction, as well as multiple, coupled systems.
8/20/2015: Synolakis receives a NSF award to study the effect of offshore islands on mainland runup and flow properties. The award includes a large experimental component, to be performed at Texas A&M University. Lynett and Prof. Jim Kaihatu at TAMU are co-PI's on the project. Link to project description here.
8/15/2015: Lynett receives funding from the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center to examine tsunami loading on coastal bridges.
8/10/2015: Lynett receives funding from the USGS to understand tsunami induced currents in Alaska harbors.
2/5/2015: Lynett organizes a workshop on modeling tsunami-induced currents. The workshop is funded / organized by NTHMP / NOAA, and more info can be found here.
11/4/2014: A story on a recent article by Synolakis picked up by various media outlets. Read the original story here.
10/6/2014: Lynett receives funding from the Department of Energy for the project "Assimilation of Wave Imaging Radar Observations for Real-time Wave-by-Wave Forecasting." The project will be led by Oregon State's Mick Haller.
8/10/2014: Lynett and PhD students Nikos Kalligeris and Aykut Ayca are filmed as part of a Smithsonian documentary on tsunami hazards, focusing on their experimental work looking at tsunami currents in ports.
8/20/2014: Lynett receives a NSF award to develop new type of wavemaker. Link to project description here.
4/18/2014: Lynett receives funding from the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center to examine simulation confidence in tsunami-driven overland flow.
4/15/2014: Lynett, Borrero, and Synolakis awarded a project from CGS to develop maritime hazard information and hazard maps for ports and harbors in California.
4/14/2014: Lynett receives funding from the Office of Naval Research to research "Faster than Real-Time Coastal Wave Visualization with a Phase-Resolving Boussinesq-type Model".
4/3/2014: Lynett discusses the threat of tsunamis triggered by underwater landslides on NPR. Listen to the interview here.
4/2/2014: Synolakis quoted widely following the Mw 8.2 earthquake in Chile. Read his remarks here.
11/12/2013: Synolakis pens an editorial in the Wall Street Journal in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, calling for increased disaster preparedness in coastal communities. Article can be found here.
10/23/2013: Synolakis has been awarded the 2014 Soloviev Medal of the European Geophysical Union. According to EGU the medal is awarded in "recognition of the scientific achievements of Sergey Soloviev. It will be awarded for outstanding scientific contributions in fundamental research that improves our knowledge of basic natural hazards principles as well as research that assesses and leads to the proper mitigation of natural hazards from both human and environmental perspectives."
10/15/2013: Lynett turned into a comic strip and featured in USC Magazine. Feature can be seen here.
10/10/2013: Lynett joins the Editorial Board of ASCE's Waterways journal as an Associate Editor. Lynett is also currently an Associate Editor at JGR-Oceans and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the International Conference on Coastal Engineering (ICCE).
10/1/2013: Lynett awarded a grant to take part in the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project, focusing on visualizations of wave impacts, and high-resolution modeling of impacts in ports and harbors. More about the USGS MHDP here A nice animation of the tsunami under study can be seen on YouTube.
7/16/2013: Congrats to recent PhD graduate Sangyoung Son who has accepted a tenure-track faculty position back home in South Korea. CEE's writeup is here.
7/15/2013: Research by Synolakis and others at the Ecole Normale Superieure about the effect of offshore islands on tsunami impact highlighted in The Economist. Link to the article is here.
7/15/2013: Efforts of an NSF RAPID funded team to the coasts of New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy are highlighted by the NSF. Prof. Jen Irish of Virginia Tech led the team, and Prof. Robert Weiss of VT and Lynett were other members of the team. Link to writeup here.
7/1/2013: Lynett receives funding from the Office of Naval Research to develop spot-application techniques for the use of high-resolution wave models.
5/1/2013: Lynett has received the 2013 ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize. According to the ASCE website, "The Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prizes recognizes members of the Society, in any grade, who demonstrate notable achievements in research related to Civil Engineering. Preference is given to younger members (generally under 40 years of age) of early accomplishment who can be expected to continue fruitful careers in research." The award citation for Dr. Lynett reads: "For pioneering research in wave modeling and prediction that led to new methods for quantifying tsunami inundation and hurricane wave overtopping, since adopted by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as standards for evaluation and design." The selection committee especially noted Dr. Lynett's contributions to coastal engineering.
1/28/2013: Synolakis receives NSF RAPID funding to study after-effects of the Japan tsunami. Link to project description here.
12/2/2012: A number of news outlets pick up a story discussing a presentation made by Lynett at this years AGU Fall Meeting, where the effect of buildings during tsunami inundation is examined. Link to article is here. Note that the article incorrectly states that flow speed is increased by a factor of 80 due to amplification between buildings; flow speed can increase by a factor of 10 while momentum flux can increase by a factor of 80.
10/24/2012: Synolakis publishes editorial in The Wall Street Journal titled "After the Quake - Scapegoating the L'Aquila seismologists doesn't make anyone safer." Link to editorial is here.
10/2012: Lynett, Borrero, and Synolakis awarded two projects, one from CalEMA and another from CGS, to develop maritime hazard information and preliminary hazard maps for ports and harbors in California.
9/10/2012: The University of Southern California Tsunami Research Center affiliated scientist Borrero has recently returned form a post event field survey investigating the effects of a tsunami generated by a magnitude 7.3 (USGS) earthquake which occurred on August 26th, 2012 off the coast of El Salvador. A preliminary description of the survey and some photos can be found here, and a link to the El Salvadorean Government's press Release can be found here. Joining Borrero on the survey were Dr. Hermann Fritz of Georgia Tech and USC Tsunami Research Center alum Dr. Diego Arcas of NOAA.
9/1/2012: Lynett awarded a grant to take part in the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project, focusing on transport, scour, and forces on structures in ports and harbors. More about the USGS MHDP here.
8/20/2012: A number of articles with USC authorship published in a special issue on the Japan 2011 tsunami. Borrero, who is also a co-editor of the volume in Pure and Applied Geophysics, discusses far field effects and Lynett presents the results of a field survey in the Galapagos Islands.
7/30/2012: Lynett discusses tsunami hazards in ports and harbors with Chile newspaper and television at a workshop in Valparaiso. Link to (Spanish) article is here.
7/4/2012: Lynett, along with Prof. Dalrymple (Johns Hopkins) and Prof. Losada (Cantabria), interviewed about coastal engineering at this years International Conference on Coastal Engineering in Santander, Spain. Link to (Spanish) article is here.
4/16/2012: Lynett receives funding from the Office of Naval Research to examine the effects of tsunami-induced currents near Naval facilities in the Port of San Diego.
4/14/2012: Synolakis quoted in The Wall Street Journal article related to the recent large earthquakes off the coast of Sumatra. Link to article is here.
4/13/2012: Synolakis publishes editorial in Huffington Post - on the anniversary of the Titantic sinking - about understanding the ocean. Link to editorial is here.
3/27/2012: Borrero and Lynett discuss tsunami-induced currents in ports and harbors in an article published in ASCE's Civil Engineering. Link to article is here.
3/23/2012: Synolakis and Lynett give technical presentations on the island of Crete about coastal zone management and engineering responses to beach erosion. Local media cover the story, and a good read (in Greek) can be viewed here.
3/2012: Synolakis, Lynett, and Borrero widely referenced and quoted as the one-year anniversary of the Japan tsunami approaches.
- Numerous outlets picked up a story about using video cameras to deduce tsunami flooding properties. The work behind this story was published in GRL, and the news article can be seen here.
- Current research related to a project trying to develop tsunami hazard maps for California Ports and Harbors was published in numerous outlets, for example here.
- The Washington Post quoted Patrick Lynett about tsunami risk in the Pacific Northwest.
- Synolakis quoted in a science review news article in Nature.
- Lynett interviewed about tsunami induced currents for the Discovery Channel show Daily Planet. The segment can be seen here
12/6/2011: Synolakis quoted in USA Today, following press conference given at the AGU Fall Meeting. Link to article is here.
10/15/2011: Lynett part of a multi-disciplinary group funded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to better understand and quantify the tsunami hazard to new and existing nuclear power plants.
10/13/2011: Synolakis quoted in a news article in Nature discussing the Indian Ocean tsunami warning system. Link to article is here.
10/5/2011: Lynett receives funding from the Office of Naval Research to study the complex interactions of waves and currents in the vicinity of tidal inlets and river mouths.
10/4/2011: Synolakis and Lynett to take part in the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project. The researchers will be responsible for predicting the hydrodynamic conditions in southern California due to a large tsunami originating in Alaska. More about the USGS MHDP here.
10/1/2011: Lynett part of a three researcher team to receive $1.3 million in NSF funding to investigate coherent turbulent structures generated by long period waves. Link to project description here.
9/1/2011: Lynett awarded the John and Dorothy Shea Early Career Chair in Civil Engineering at USC. A little about the Shea's can be read here.
6/6/2011: Lesley Ewing, an engineer with the California Coastal Commission and current Ph.D. student working with Synolakis, leads an ASCE survey team in Japan to document the damage to coastal structures. See news story here.
4/25/2011: Synolakis quoted in USA Today news story about the results of field surveys in Japan. Link to article is here.
4/1/2011: Lynett receives NSF RAPID funding to visit tsunami stricken areas in the Pacific. Field survey locations included Japan, Midway, the Galapagos Islands, and the U.S. West Coast. Link to project description here.
3/11/2011: Synolakis and Barberopoulou interviewed and quoted widely in the days following the Japan tsunami. A compilation of news stories can be found here.