NEW FACULTY: REZA HASHEMI

With one doctorate in oceanography and another in civil/hydraulic engineering, the University of Rhode Island was a great fit academically and geographically for Reza Hashemi to teach and conduct research on the affects of storms and waves on coastal communities.

“URI has a great reputation for ocean science and engineering,” said Hashemi. “I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to conduct ocean renewable energy Reza Hashemiand coastal resilience research.”

One of Hashemi’s projects, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Coastal Management, involves studying ways to improve storm prediction and protection. The five-state project is divided into two major areas: forecasting and outreach and planning activities encouraging designs to protect the coast.

Hashemi is the lead researcher on the high-resolution forecasting model for state waters.

“We have developed a numerical model for forecast and hind-cast of storm surge and waves generated by coastal storms,” explained Hashemi. “The model predicts potential flooding of hurricanes and nor’easters, and can be used as a tool for planning and emergency preparedness purposes.”

As a part of another project, funded by the Rhode Island Sea Grant,” Hashemi and his team has developed numerical models to predict the response of the beaches in the south coast of Rhode Island to coastal storms.

“Aerial photographs show that this coast is eroding at an alarming rate, with annual beach recession rates exceeding one meter per year in some areas,” stated Hashemi. “Using these models, several issues such as the impact of the projected sea level rise on beach erosion have been assessed. The model can be used for planning and mitigation of beach erosion in Rhode Island.”

In the future, the professor would like to continue to study coastal resilience, but also conduct research on ocean renewable energy. He has studied tidal and wave energy in the past, but wishes to expand the scope of his research to include offshore wind.

“The ocean energy is vast and untapped, and can be harnessed to support low carbon energy development,” said Hashemi. “The research I would like to do involves characterizing ocean resources and assessing the environmental impacts of ocean renewable energy systems.”