A smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) numerical model for shallow water equations (SWEs) is presented for simulating flood inundation owing to rapidly varying flow, such as dam breaks, tsunamis, and levee breaches. Important theoretical and numerical developments have recently been made, and the model in this paper incorporates these developments and implements open boundary conditions, resulting in a general, accurate computational tool suitable for practical application. The method is attractive for flood simulation over large domains in which the extent of inundation is unknown because computation is carried out only in wet areas and is dynamically adaptive. The open boundary algorithm is very general, on the basis of a simplified version of the characteristics method, handling both supercritical and subcritical inflow and outflow. This is tested against reference solutions for flows over a hump involving shocks. The model is then applied to two very different flood inundations resulting from the Okushiri tsunami in Japan and from a hypothetical dyke breach at Thamesmead in the United Kingdom. The SPH-SWE model compares well with established commercial and state-of-the-art finite-volume codes.
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