Simulated 3D flow structures around trees. (Credit: Xiaofeng Liu)
In the past, engineered rivers have been designed mostly to control flood waters. But nowadays, people have started to see the values rivers convey for recreation, biodiversity and ecological services. Those have in part helped to spur more and more river restoration projects around the country.
With that new way of thinking, scientists are also updating the methods that they use for planning such restoration projects. One of these is cloud computing, which holds a lot of promise for the world of environmental data management and manipulation.
To better evaluate the future use of cloud computing in river restoration projects, scientists at Penn State University plan to use the technology to design a three-dimensional model of river flow structures. The model will show how the structures behave near restoration projects and help assess their effectiveness.
Once the model is developed, Penn State scientists plan to share it with state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The government officials will then use the model as a design tool to help in restoring rivers in the future.
Top image: Simulated 3D flow structures around trees. (Credit: Xiaofeng Liu)