Jonathan Whiting is a member of the hydrodynamic modeling group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State. He has been a Tecplot 360 user since 2014.
PNNL and the Salish Sea Model
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory with a main campus in Richland, Washington. The PNNL mission is to advance the frontiers of knowledge by taking on some of the world’s greatest science and technology challenges. The lab has distinctive strengths in chemistry, earth sciences and data analytics and deploys them to improve America’s energy resiliency and to enhance national security.
Jonathan is part of the Coastal Sciences Division at PNNL’s Marine Sciences Laboratory. The hydrodynamic modeling group in Seattle, WA works primarily to promote both ecosystem management and the restoration of the Salish Sea and Puget Sound with the Salish Sea Model.
The Salish Sea Model is a predictive ocean modeling tool for coastal estuarine research, restoration planning, water-quality management, and climate change response assessment. It was initially created to evaluate the sensitivity of Puget Sound acidification to ocean and fresh water inputs and to reproduce hypoxia in the Puget Sound while examining its sensitivity to nutrient pollution, funded by the Washington State Department of Ecology. Now it is being applied to answer the most pressing environmental challenges in the greater Salish Sea region.
PNNL is currently in the first year of a three-year project to enhance the Salish Sea Model. The goals are to increase the model’s resolution and to make it operational, which means assuring the model runs on schedule and gets results that are continuously available to the public—including predictions a week or so ahead. This will allow for new applications such as the tracking of oil spills during response activities.
Jonathan has worked with the modeling team on several habitat restoration planning projects along the Snoqualmie and Skagit rivers in Washington’s Puget Sound region. Jonathan was responsible for post-processing model outputs into analytical and geospatial products to meet client expectations and to convey findings that aid project planning and stakeholder engagement.
The Challenge: Creating Consistent, High-Quality Visualization for Model Post-Processing
For the recent Skagit Delta Hydrodynamic Modeling project, a high-resolution triangular unstructured grid was created with 131,471 elements and 10 terrain-following sigma layers in the vertical plane. Post-processing was conducted on five time snapshots per scenario across 11 scenarios (including a baseline). Each file was about 55MB in uncompressed binary format.
The sheer quantity of plots was very challenging to handle, and it was important to generate clean plots that clearly conveyed results.
The Solution – Tecplot 360
Jonathan most often uses Tecplot 360 to generate top-down plots and videos that visualize parameters geospatially across an area. He then uses that visualization to convey meaningful project implications to his clients, who in turn use the products to inform program stakeholders and the public.
To handle the quantity of data Jonathan was working with, Tecplot 360 product manager Scott Fowler gave him a quick demonstration of Tecplot 360 and showed him how to use Chorus, the parametric design space analysis tool within Tecplot 360. Chorus allowed Jonathan to analyze a single dataset with multiple plots in a single view over time by using the matrix tool, easing the bulk generation of plots.
Tecplot support and development teams have been working closely with Jonathan, especially by adding new geospatial features to the software that enhance its automation and efficiency.
According to Jonathan, the key strengths in Tecplot’s software have been:
- Ease of use
- Availability of scripting to assist bulk processing
- Variety of tools and features, such as georeferenced images
Using Tecplot 360 has allowed Jonathan to create professional plots that enhance the impact of their modeling work.
How Will Jonathan Use Tecplot In the Future?
Jonathan’s personal niche has become trajectory modeling, so he is also interested in using Tecplot to generate visuals associated with the movement of objects on the surface by using streamlines, velocity gradients, slices, and more. He intends to take a deeper dive into the vast capabilities of Chorus and PyTecplot in the future!
Tecplot 360’s latest geoscience-focused release, Tecplot 360 2018 R2, includes the popular FVCOM loader and has the ability to insert georeferenced images that put your data in context. Tecplot 360 will automatically position and scale your georeferenced Google Earth or Bing Maps images.