Jon Derek Loftis homepage

Derek Loftis

Assistant Professor

Email: [[jdloftis]]
Phone: (804) 684-7876
Office: Davis Hall 222
Section: Ecosystem Health
Unit: Center for Coastal Resources Management
Interests: Hydrodynamic Model Validation via Sensors & Citizen Science


Ph.D., Marine Science. VIMS, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA.

M.S., Environmental Science. Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA.

B.S., Biology. Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA.
Minors: Chemistry and Leadership Studies

Research Focus

My research program focuses on hydrodynamic modeling applications related to coastal inundation caused by storm surge, heavy precipitation events, and persistent tidal flooding. My research also addresses new utilitarian methods of flooding extent verification via thermal infrared imaging drones and crowd-sourcing mobile applications such as the Sea Level Rise App (iOS / Android), and the geospatial analysis methods involved with statistically evaluating flood model predictions.

I currently lead the StormSense Project in the Greater Hampton Roads Region of Tidewater Virginia, an inundation forecasting research initiative to enhance emergency preparedness for flooding resulting from storm surge, rain, and tides. The scope of the project encompasses the interests of coastal local governments wishing to enhance their flood response efforts via a network of 'Internet of Things' (IoT)-enabled bridge-mounted ultrasonic water level sensors. The new suite of sensors installed by the Cities of Hampton Roads may one day be integrated with the VIMS TideWatch Network to enhance the reach of the existing tidal prediction network for improved geospatial flood predictions throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay when coupled with the 3D hydrodynamic flood modeling and forecasting capabilities of our Sub-Grid Model in Hampton Roads. The capabilities of street-level modeling are providing new insights into how we may adapt to compounding influences of changes in mean sea level, land subsidence, and storm surges-- now, and in the future.  

I also evaluate the impacts of point source and non-point source nutrient loading and pollution using water quality models to evaluate their iimplications for the health of coastal bays of the United States including the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries. I am also interested in the use of remote sensing satellites and GIS data to illustrate areas of historical significance in Virginia's past through the Remote Sensing and Advanced GIS classes I teach at VIMS and William & Mary. 

More detailed information regarding my research experience is available in my CV.

Storm Surge and High Resolution Inundation Modeling Applications:

Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA: Street-Level Modeling of Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Hermine validated via Crowdsourced Geospatial Data and Drone2Map

Norfolk, VA: Street-Level Inundation Forecast Predictions Compared with 'Sea Level Rise' App Crowd-Sourced Data for Model Validation

New York City, NY: New York Harbor during 2012 Hurricane Sandy

Hampton, VA: NASA Langley Research Center during 2011 Hurricane Irene

Washington, D.C.: Potomac River during 2003 Hurricane Isabel and 1936 Potomac River Flood

Recent Publications

Loftis, J.D. (2022). Exploring Latent Verification Methods for Inundation Forecasting Models through Remote Sensing Networks and Community Science. Oceans 2022 MTS/IEEE Hampton Roads, IEEE. DOI

Mulholland, M.R., Macías-Tapia, A., and Loftis, J.D. (2022). Water quality impacts from tidal flooding in Southern Chesapeake Bay. Oceans 2022 MTS/IEEE Hampton Roads, IEEE. DOI

Behr, J.G., Yusuf, W., McLeod, G., Stafford, S., Loftis, J.D., Anuar, A., and Diaz, R. (2022). A Report Prepared for “COCA/SARP – Measuring the Economic Impact of Recurrent Flooding on Workforce Productivity and Property. Presentations, Lectures, Posters, Reports. 31. 270 pg. DOI

Loftis, J.D. and Katragadda, S. (2022). A Deep Learning Algorithmic Approach to Develop a Video Inundation Monitoring System. Oceans 2022 MTS/IEEE Hampton Roads, IEEE. DOI

Abdel-Fattah, T.M. and Loftis, J.D. (2022). Comparison of Electrochemical Polishing Treatments between Phosphoric Acid and a Deep Eutectic Solvent for High-Purity Copper. Sustainable Chemistry, 3(2), 238-247. DOI

Allen, T., Behr, J., Bukvic, A., Calder, R.S., Caruson, K., Connor, C., D’Elia, C., Dismukes, D., Ersing, R., Franklin, R. and Goldstein, J., Loftis, J.D., et al. (2021). Anticipating and Adapting to the Future Impacts of Climate Change on the Health, Security and Welfare of Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) Communities in Southeastern USA. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering9(11), p.1196. DOI

Rawat, P., Anuar, K.A., Yusuf, J.E.W., Loftis, J.D., and Blake, R.N. (2021). Communicating and co-producing information with stakeholders Examples of participatory mapping approaches related to sea-level rise risks and impacts. Communicating Climate Change: Making Environmental Messaging Accessible, Routledge, p. 79-96. DOI | Book DOI  

Macías-Tapia, A., Mulholland, M.R., Selden, C.R., Loftis, J.D., and Bernhardt, P.W., (2021). Effects of tidal flooding on estuarine biogeochemistry: Quantifying flood-driven nitrogen inputs in an urban, lower Chesapeake Bay sub-tributary. Water Research201, p.117329. DOI

Allen, T., Behr, J., Bukvic, A., Calder, R.S., Caruson, K., Connor, C., D’Elia, C., Dismukes, D., Ersing, R., Franklin, R. and Goldstein, J., Loftis, J.D., et al. (2021). Anticipating and Adapting to the Future Impacts of Climate Change on the Health, Security and Welfare of Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) Communities in Southeastern USA. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering9(11), p.1196. DOI

Nunez, K., Loftis, D., and Schatt, D. (2021). Land Use Change and Recurrent Flooding Issues in Northern Virginia - Final Report for the Virginia Transportation Research Council. Center for Coastal Resources Management. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia, p.1-72.

Liu, Z., Wang, H., Zhang, Y.J., Magnusson L., Loftis, J.D., and Forrest, D.R. (2020). Cross-Scale Modeling of Storm Surge, Tide, and Inundation in Mid-Atlantic Bight and New York City during Hurricane Sandy, 2012. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 233, p.1-17. DOI

Loftis, J.D., Mitchell, M., Schatt, D., Forrest, D.R., Wang, H.V., Mayfield, D., and Stiles, W.A. (2019). Validating an Operational Flood Forecast Model Using Citizen Science in Hampton Roads, VA, USA. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 7, 242. DOI

Smith, E.A., Sweet, W., Mitchell, M., Domingues, R., Weaver, C., Baringer, M., Goni, G.J., Haines, J., Loftis, J.D., Boon, J. and Malmquist, D. (2019). Treading Water: Tools to Help US Coastal Communities Plan for Sea Level Rise Impacts. Frontiers in Marine Science6, p.300. DOI

Yan, L., Mahmud, s., Shen, H., Foutz, N.Z., Brown, D.E., Yusuf, W., Loftis, J.D., Lyons, L., Goodall, J.L., and Anton J. (2019). MobiAmbulance: Optimal Scheduling of Emergency Vehicles in Catastrophic Situations. In 28th International Conference on Computer Communication and Networks. IEEE p. 1-7. DOI

Nichols, C.R., Wright, L.D., Bainbridge, S.J., Cosby, A.G., Hénaff, A., Loftis, J.D., Cocquempot, L.M., Katragadda, S., Méndez, G.R., Letortu, P., and Dantec, N.L. (2019). Collaborative Science to Enhance Coastal Resilience and Adaptation. Frontiers in Marine Science6, p.404. DOI

Cohen, S., Raney, A., Munasinghe, D., Loftis, J.D., Molthan, A., Bell, J., Rogers, L., Galantowicz, J., Robert Brakenridge, G., Kettner, A.J., Huang, Y-F., and Tsang, Y-P. (2019). The Floodwater Depth Estimation Tool (FwDET v2.0) for Improved Remote Sensing Analysis of Coastal Flooding. Natural Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. 14. DOI

Simoniello, C., Jencks, J., Lauro, F.M., Loftis, J.D., Weslawski, J.M., Deja, K., Forrest, D.R., Gossett, S., Jeffries, T.C., Jensen, R.M., Kobara, S., Nolan, L., Ostrowski, M., Pounds, D., Roseman, G., Basco, O., Gosselin, S., Reed, A., Wills, P., and Wyatt, D. (2019). Citizen-Science for the Future: Advisory Case Studies From Around the Globe. Frontiers in Marine Science. 6, p.225. DOI

Loftis, J.D., Forrest, D., Wang, H., Rogers, L., Molthan, A., Bekaert, D., Cohen, S., and Sun, D. (2018). October. Communities and Areas at Intensive Risk in the Mid-Atlantic Region: A Reanalysis of 2011 Hurricane Irene with Future Sea Level Rise and Land Subsidence. In Oceans 2018 MTS/IEEE Charleston (pp. 1-7). IEEE. DOI

Rogers, L., Borges, D., Murray, J., Molthan, A., Bell, J., Allen, T., Bekaert, D., Loftis, J.D., Wang, H., Cohen, S., and Sun, D. (2018). October. NASA’s Mid-Atlantic Communities and Areas at Intensive Risk Demonstration:: Translating Compounding Hazards to Societal Risk. In Oceans 2018 MTS/IEEE Charleston (pp. 1-5). IEEE. DOI

Loftis, J.D., Forrest, D.R., Mayfield, D. and Stiles, W.A. (2018). October. A Geospatial Analysis of+ 50,000 Citizen-Science collected GPS Flood Extents and Street-Level Hydrodynamic Model Forecasts during the 2017 King Tide in Hampton Roads, VA. In Oceans 2018 MTS/IEEE Charleston (pp. 1-4). IEEE.  DOI

Loftis, J.D., Mitchell, M., Atkinson, L., Hamlington, B., Allen, T.R., Forrest, D., Updyke, T., Tahvildari, N., Bekaert, D. & Bushnell, M. (2018). Integrated Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Observations in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Marine Technology Society Journal, 52(2): 68-83. DOI

Boon, J.D., Mitchell, M., Loftis, J.D. & Malmquist, D.M. (2018). Anthropocene Sea Level Change: A History of Recent Trends Observed in the U.S. East, Gulf, and West Coast Regions. Special Report in Applied Marine Science and Ocean Engineering (SRAMSOE). No. 467. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. DOI

Loftis, J.D., Katragadda, K., Rhee, S. & Nguyen, C. (2018). StormSense: A Blueprint for Coastal Flood Forecast Information & Automated Alert Messaging Systems. SCOPE '18 Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Science of Smart City Operations and Platforms Engineering, 3(1). DOI

Loftis, J.D., Forrest, D., Katragadda, K., Spencer, K., Organski, T., Nguyen, C. & Rhee, S. (2018). StormSense: A New Integrated Network of IoT Water Level Sensors in the Smart Cities of Hampton Roads, VA. Marine Technology Society Journal, 52(2): 56-67. DOI

Loftis, J.D., Wang, H.V., Hamilton, S.E. & Forrest, D.R. (2018). Combination of Lidar Elevations, Bathymetric Data, and Urban Infrastructure in a Sub-Grid Model for Predicting Inundation in New York City during Hurricane Sandy. Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems. URL

Loftis, J.D., Wang, H., Forrest, D., Rhee, S. & Nguyen, C. (2017). Emerging Flood Model Validation Frameworks for Street-Level Inundation Modeling with StormSense.  SCOPE '17 Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Science of Smart City Operations and Platforms Engineering, 2(1), 13-18. DOI

Loftis, J.D., Wang, H.V., DeYoung, R.J. & Ball, W.B. (2016). Using Lidar Elevation Data to Develop a Topobathymetric Digital Elevation Model for Sub-Grid Inundation Modeling at Langley Research Center, In: Brock, J.C.; Gesch, D.B.; Parrish, C.E.; Rogers, J.N., and Wright, C.W. (eds.), Advances in Topobathymetric Mapping, Models, and Applications. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 76, 134-148. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208. DOI

Wang, H., Loftis, J.D., Forrest, D., Smith, W., & Stamey, B. (2015). Modeling Storm Surge and inundation in Washington, D.C., during Hurricane Isabel and the 1936 Potomac River Great Flood. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 3(3), 607-629. DOI

Loftis, J.D. (2014). Development of a Large-Scale Storm Surge and High-Resolution Sub-Grid Inundation Model for Coastal Flooding Applications: A Case Study During Hurricane Sandy. Ph.D. Dissertation. College of William & Mary. DOI

Wang, H., Loftis, J.D., Liu, Z., Forrest, D. & Zhang, J. (2014). Storm Surge and Sub-Grid Inundation Modeling in New York City during Hurricane Sandy. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 2(1), 226-246. DOI

Loftis, J.D., Wang, H. & DeYoung, R. (2013). Storm Surge and Inundation Modeling in the Back River Watershed for NASA Langley Research Center. NASA Technical Report: NASA/TM-2013-218046. URL

Curriculum Vitae

Download a copy of my CV

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