FY 15 NOPP Funding Announcement – Integrating the Hydrological Cycle for improved Coastal and Global Forecasting

FY ’15 NOPP Funding Announcement

Integrating the Hydrological Cycle for improved Coastal and Global Forecasting

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 major challenge in coastal ocean and atmospheric forecasting is the exchange of water from the atmosphere to the land via precipitation, the associated changes in soil moisture, river and lake surface temperature and water level, and the transfer of freshwater and suspended material into the coastal ocean. However, the three relevant model domains are typically only coupled in a very rudimentary way in dynamical mesoscale forecast systems. For flooding and river forecasts in the United States, instead of a dynamical, data assimilating, coupled system, the preferred approach is often semi-empirical, statistical, or statistical-dynamical systems. The challenge for prediction overseas for DoD and other federal agencies with a global mission such as Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of State, is that the historical observations needed to construct predictions from this statistical historical-observation based approaches do not exist or are not available to U.S. agencies.

This topic is focused on the research, development and testing of a new high-resolution coupled land surface and hydrological modeling capability within COAMPS® and NAVGEM that demonstrates improved skill for mesoscale domains with large freshwater features as part of the scene as well as for coastal NCOM and Global coupled NAVGEM/HYCOM within the Earth System Prediction Capability (ESPC) framework. This capability will be obtained through advanced development of ESMF compliant components collaboratively with related work sponsored by NOPP partner agencies. A project goal is on a new community land surface (LS) hydrological model based on successes on the global and climate scale within NASA’s Land Information System (LIS) and similar development efforts as well as regional scales such as the Weather Research and Forecasting Hydrology Module (WRF-Hydro). A data assimilating, high-resolution capability will better address high impact events such as seasonal river levels, seasonal low lying areal flooding, synoptic scale predictability and prediction of extreme events, and mesoscale flash flooding, channel/bank erosion and sediment transport, and coastal trafficability and will establish the foundation necessary for a fully coupled land-ocean system that would include interactions with marine processes, such as fresh-water stream inflow affecting near-coast water density vertical structure and transport of riverine sediment impacting local bathymetry and water clarity.

The existing Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF) is jointly funded by Navy, NOAA, NASA, DOE, and NSF and the NASA LIS framework is written to this standard, which allows for in-stride re-gridding and “plug-and-play” of various hydrology models suitable for specific applications and scenarios within a generalized infrastructure. Hydrological modeling is becoming a high interest topic across the Federal sponsors of environmental science, from short lead safety of life and property concerns due to recent spring floods and mudslides out to long term sustainability, agriculture, industry, and energy generation concerns associated with changing climate.

Planning Letters:

All planning letters should be submitted by email, preferably in PDF form, to Dr. Reggie Beach (reginald.beach@navy.mil) and Dr. Daniel Eleuterio (daniel.eleuterio@navy.mil). Please note “Integrating the Hydrological Cycle 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.