Tarang Khangaonkar

Tarang Khangaonkar

Overview and Professional Qualifications

tarang khangaokarDr. Tarang Khangaonkar, Ph.D., P.E., is the technical group manager for the Integrated Coastal Ocean Modeling Group at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He has been working in the Skagit on climate science since 2001. His main focus in the Skagit has been on hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and water quality modeling in the Skagit River Estuary from the floodplain to the coastal waters of Skagit Bay.

Dr. Khangaonkar provides senior leadership to PNNL’s activities in numerical modeling studies related to water quality, hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and fate and transport analysis. He has 20 years of experience with various types of models capable of circulation, toxics fate and transport, and water quality kinetics. In response to a growing demand by the Puget Sound community for a practical oceanographic modeling tool — to assist with nearshore restoration planning and design, and water quality management — Dr. Khangaonkar and his team have developed a high-resolution 3‑D finite volume hydrodynamics circulation and transport model of Puget Sound (PS-CTM). In consultation with U.S. EPA and Washington State Department of Ecology, Dr. Khangaonkar is currently also managing the development of an associated biogeochemical (dissolved oxygen and nutrient) model of Puget Sound to evaluate effects of population.

The areas of management that are potentially affected by Dr. Khangaonkar’s work include water quality, sediment quality, navigation, flood protection, and fish passage.

Research Interests
Listing of Dr. Khangaonkar’s Skagit-specific research interests

  • Climate change impacts on nearshore circulation and transport in Skagit Bay
  • Sea level rise and impact on nearshore marsh habitat in Skagit Bay
  • Influence of climate change on Skagit Bay sea surface temperature and fish migration
  • Fate and transport of Skagit River sediments and marsh aggradation
  • Residual circulation in Skagit Bay, Saratoga Passage, and Whidbey Basin

Listing of Dr. Khangaonkar’s other research interests

  • Hydrodynamics and circulation in the Salish Sea (Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca)
  • Biogeochemical balance of nutrient loads and primary production in Puget Sound
  • Assimilative capacity of Puget Sound, given climate change and growth
  • Effects of sea level rise on residual circulation in Puget Sound
  • Role of coastal carbon sinks on ocean acidification.

Dr. Khangaonkar has descriptions available of his current research and finished reports.

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., applied marine physics/ocean engineering, University of Miami, 1990
  • M.S., ocean engineering, University of Miami, 1988
  • B.S., naval architecture, Indian Institute of Technology, 1986
  • Dr. Khangaonkar is a registered professional engineer (P.E., Civil) in Washington.

Affiliations and Professional Service
Founding member of the Skagit Climate Science Consortium

Additional Information
Pacific Northwest National Laboratories has many capabilities of the Integrated Coastal Ocean Modeling Group at PNNL. Some of the work they do is described below.


  • 3‑D free surface flows
  • Stratified flow
  • Coastal circulation
  • Rivers, lakes, & estuaries

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

  • 3‑D flows near structures
  • Complex model grids
  • Jet plume mixing & dilution

Water Quality/Ecology

  • Effluent mixing & dilution
  • Toxics fate and transport
  • Salinity, DO, pH, & Temperature
  • NPDES and TMDL
  • Primary productivity

Sediment Transport

  • Dredged material transport
  • Sediment impact zones
  • Sedimentation basins
  • Natural recovery


  • Watershed behavior
  • Flooding
  • Storm events
  • Climate-driven impacts
  • Interactions with structures

Dr. Tarang Khangaonkar
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
1100 Dexter Avenue N, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98109
Tel: 206–528-3053
Cell: 206–612-1598
Fax: 206–528-3556
Email: tarang.khangaonkar@pnl.gov

For additional information on PNNL’s Coastal and Ocean Modeling Group and to access reports not connected directly to climate change in the Skagit, please visit: www.pnnl.gov