Diego Arcas

JISAO leader in tsunami modeling

Diego ArcasDiego Arcas left his native Spain in 1994 to complete his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California. He then went on to complete his PhD degree at USC's Aerospace Engineering Department. His doctoral thesis "Mixing Enhancement of Jets and Drag Reduction in Manipulated Bluff Body Wakes" is focused on a Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) of the two dimensional Navier-Stokes equations in order to investigate the advantageous manipulation of flow instabilities for the purpose of reducing aerodynamic drag or enhancing mixing in fluid flows.

Arcas is fascinated by all the different research areas where the field of Fluid Dynamics can be applied. His scientific contributions range from the field of Biomedical Engineering where he has applied numerical blood flow simulations to measure shear stress along arterial walls (which led to the development of one of the first shear stress nano-sensors) to the design of highly fuel efficient vehicles by means of reducing the overall aerodynamic drag of truck-trailer combos ( a joint effort with NASA Ames, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology within a Department of Energy project to reduce US dependence on foreign oil).

Diego on Easter IslandEarly in his career, Arcas felt the urge to apply his knowledge to the study of the different fluid processes taking place in the world Oceans. It was this interest that led him to establish a fruitful collaboration with Civil Engineering Professor Costas Synolakis, one of the world's leading tsunami researchers. From that point on he has been mainly devoted to the numerical simulation of surface gravity waves and, in particular, tsunamis, first at USC and then at JISAO, where he was appointed as a tsunami modeler to the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research in 2004. Since then, he has led the Center's modeling group and is involved with many different aspects dealing with the numerical simulation of tsunamis, from the incorporation of real time numerical modeling to the tsunami warning system to tsunami hazard assessment for siting of nuclear power plants.

When not in the lab, you can find Arcas reading at home or hiking the trails of the Pacific Northwest in the company of his dog, Yogi.