CSDMS 2018 annual meeting - Geoprocesses, geohazards

Hydrodynamic modeling using the open source package ANUGA

Steve Roberts
Australian National University, Australia
Mariela Perignon University of Texas United States

ANUGA is an open source software package capable of simulating small-scale hydrological processes such as dam breaks, river flooding, storm surges and tsunamis. ANUGA is a Python-language model that solves the Shallow Water Wave Equation on an unstructured triangular grid and can simulate shock waves and rapidly changing flows. It was developed by the Australian National University and Geosciences Australia and has an active developer and user community.

The package supports discontinuous elevation, or ‘jumps’ in the bed profile between neighbouring cells. This has a number of benefits. Firstly it can preserve lake-at-rest type stationary states with wet-dry fronts. It can also simulate very shallow frictionally dominated flow down sloping topography, as typically occurs in direct-rainfall flood models. A further benefit of the discontinuous-elevation approach, when combined with an unstructured mesh, is that the model can sharply resolve rapid changes in the topography associated with e.g. narrow prismatic drainage channels, or buildings, without the computational expense of a very fine mesh. The boundaries between such features can be embedded in the mesh using break-lines, and the user can optionally specify that different elevation datasets are used to set the elevation within different parts of the mesh (e.g. often it is convenient to use a raster digital elevation model in terrestrial areas, and surveyed channel bed points in rivers). The discontinuous-elevation approach also supports a simple and computationally efficient treatment of river walls. These are arbitrarily narrow walls between cells, higher than the topography on either side, where the flow is controlled by a weir equation and optionally transitions back to the shallow water solution for sufficiently submerged flows. This allows modelling of levees or lateral weirs which are much finer than the mesh size.

This clinic will provide a hands-on introduction to hydrodynamic modeling using ANUGA. We will discuss the structure and capabilities of the model as we build and run increasingly complex simulations involving channels and river walls. No previous knowledge of Python is required. Example input files will be provided and participants will be able to explore the code and outputs at their own pace.

Please acknowledge the original contributors when you are using this material. If there are any copyright issues, please let us know ( and we will respond as soon as possible.

Of interest for:
  • Hydrology Focus Research Group