SERDP 2020 Project of the Year Award for Munitions Response

There is a need to improve the current and historical understanding of environmental conditions of underwater sites that impact the movement of munitions located there. The SERDP Munitions Response Program Area has interest in assessing underwater environments in which munitions are found over real-time and historic periods. Both timescales are necessary for a comprehensive understanding of munitions behavior at underwater remediation sites.  

This year’s SERDP Project of the Year under the Munitions Response Program Area was headed by Dr. Margaret Palmsten from the United States Geological Survey. Dr. Palmsten and her project team are developing recent hindcasts of waves, currents, and sediment transport, including uncertainties using a coupled modeling system. The project is focused on modeling the environment where munitions are found in water depths less than 35 meters. The project will link water motion (hydrodynamic) and seafloor change (morphodynamic) models with a probabilistic model for munitions mobility, which is under development by Sarah Rennie and Alan Brandt at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (Project Webpage). Dr. Palmsten’s approach provides better forcing conditions and a better understanding of the role of time-dependence and uncertainty in munitions mobility simulations.

This research improves the capability to estimate model uncertainty in hydrodynamic and morphologic simulations by adapting a hybrid deterministic-probabilistic modeling approach for the nearshore environment. Accurate estimates of munitions mobility will lead to more cost-effective characterization, planning, and use of available resources. The project results will be compatible with risk assessment tools developed within SERDP to aid in the transfer of model results to site managers. Ultimately, this will allow site managers to make informed decisions about munitions response resulting in the best use of use of available resources. 

For this important work, Dr. Margaret Palmsten and her team received the 2020 SERDP Project of the Year Award for Munitions Response.

Project Team:

  • Margaret Palmsten – United States Geological Survey 
  • Allison Penko – United States Naval Research Laboratory