FY 15 NOPP Funding Announcement – Earth System Prediction Coupled Air-Sea Process Studies and Coupled Data Assimilation

FY ’15 NOPP Funding Announcement

Earth System Prediction Coupled Air-Sea Process Studies and Coupled Data Assimilation

Anticipated Resources:

These efforts are expected to run for three years, with funding available from FY2015 through FY2017/18. A 12-18 month option may be considered at a later date but should not be part of the Base period budget. It is anticipated that up two or three projects may be supported at a level of no more than $500K per year for each multi-investigator proposal. Partnering between Federal, University, and Private research sectors is encouraged but not required.

Topic Description:

A consistent observational data analysis system that integrates coupled ocean-atmosphere model forecasts and coordinated/coincident ocean-atmosphere observations has not yet been achieved. While global coupled forecast models for seasonal prediction and coupled mesoscale models for highly forced phenomena such as tropical cyclones are becoming widely available in both research and operations, the initialization of the air, ocean, land, and sea ice models is still done independently in each domain and may lead to situations where the information from the cross-domain error covariances is lost.

There are major technical obstacles to achieving coupled data assimilation associated with writing and maintaining the tangent linear and adjoint models for variational approaches and the design of a consistent, tightly coupled ocean–atmospheric ensemble for ensemble based approaches. Additionally there are scientific challenges towards a consistent understanding and numerical description of the processes and energy and mass budgets away from the air-sea interfacial layer that can cause conditions to evolve at spatial and temporal scales below our ability to observe or numerically represent them. Some of these challenges can be mitigated through the use of ensemble techniques, but this approach has been limited by spurious ensemble correlations and by poorly represented error correlations between atmospheric and oceanic variables.

This topic is focused on exploration of suitable approaches towards more representative and consistent initialization of the global ocean and atmospheric meso-synoptic to sub-seasonal forecast models, and supporting coordinated process analysis and numerical studies using recent observational field campaigns that specifically included atmospheric and oceanic observations such as T-PARC/TCS-08, ITOP, DYNAMO, TROPIC, and ASIRI. However, in order to further advance the use of these datasets and advance underlying process understanding, a consistent 4D data analysis capability needs to be developed. The objective of this NOPP topic is to develop and test new coupled air, ocean, and land and sea ice data assimilation capabilities within the global and regional coupled forecast systems that demonstrate improved skill for phenomena with a strong air-sea dynamical evolution such as polar lows, mid-latitude explosive cyclogenesis, tropical cyclones and tropical intra-seasonal oscillations. This capability will be obtained through advanced development of ESMF compliant data assimilation techniques collaboratively with related work sponsored by NOPP partner Agencies. This partnership is focused on the initial condition aspects of the Navy’s future Earth System Prediction Capability (ESPC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Next Generation Global Prediction System. Initial value aspects of global coupled modeling is an emerging high interest topic area both nationally and internationally under the WWRP/WCRP Working Group on Numerical Experimentation due to its relevance to ocean prediction and extended range (sub-seasonal to seasonal) prediction.

Planning Letters:

All planning letters should be submitted by email, preferably in PDF form, to Dr. Daniel Eleuterio (daniel.eleuterio@navy.mil) and Dr. Scott Harper (scott.l.harper@navy.mil).
Please note “ESPC Coupled Data Assimilation and Processes Planning Letter” in your e-mail subject line.


  • November 14, 2014: Planning letters due to ONR
  • December 1, 2014: Feedback from ONR
  • January 16, 2015, 4 p.m. EST: Last date to submit full proposals via grants.gov

Request for Planning Letters:

Planning letters are requested at this time. Planning letters should be a brief summary of the team’s proposed ideas and work plan that address this topic, and should follow the normal ONR 322 planning letter guidance. ONR will evaluate all planning letters and indicate whether a full proposal would have a reasonable chance of success. Teaming and coordination among PIs is encouraged, but ONR reserves the right to suggest different teaming as expertise and needs dictate, thus each PI’s contribution to the proposed effort should be distinct. Coordination between teams working on different aspects of a Topic Area will be accomplished through annual progress reviews involving all funded participants. These meetings are required in order to share progress and ensure compatibility of approaches, code and documentation. Travel budgets should account for these review and coordination meetings (up to two per year).

Planning Letter Content:

The letter should include:

  • Contact information for the principal and co-investigators, including full mailing address, e-mail address and phone number for each.
  • A maximum three-page synopsis of the proposed research, including a rationale, questions and/or hypotheses to be addressed, the methods to be used, and anticipated results .
  • An estimated budget, with approximate cost per year.
  • Up to one page of relevant references from the literature.
  • A one-page biographical sketch for each investigator, with a focus on research activities and publications relevant to the proposed research.