Observing and Understanding Processes Affecting the Propagation of Intraseasonal Oscillations in the Maritime Continent Region

NOAA’s Climate Variability and Predictability (CVP) program is announcing 14 new three-year projects in FY17 that aim to improve understanding of processes that affect the propagation of intraseasonal oscillations—specifically the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO)—in the Maritime Continent and broader regions. The competitively selected programs total $7.4 million, including $4.8 in grants and $2.6 in other awards.

The surface and upper-atmosphere structure of the MJO for a period when the enhanced convective phase (thunderstorm cloud) is centered across the Indian Ocean and the suppressed convective phase is centered over the west-central Pacific Ocean. Horizontal arrows pointing left represent wind departures from average that are easterly, and arrows pointing right represent wind departures from average that are westerly. The entire system shifts eastward over time, eventually circling the globe and returning to its point of origin. Climate.gov drawing by Fiona Martin.

CVP supports research that enhances our process-level understanding of the climate system through observation, modeling, analysis, and field studies. Since 2011, CVP has sponsored research projects focused on improving scientific understanding of the MJO, a 30- to 90-day natural climate variability pattern that starts in the Indian Ocean and propagates around the world. Improvements in our understanding of the MJO—how it is initiated and how it travels around the globe—will increase our prediction skill within the 2-week to 3-month time window where there is currently a skill gap.

Better understanding of the MJO would also increase the accuracy and lead time for predicting extreme weather over the United States, thus improving people’s ability to prepare for dangerous conditions, such as very heavy precipitation caused by “atmospheric rivers.” On average, about 30-50% of the west coast’s annual precipitation occurs in just a few atmospheric river events, which sustain the region’s water supply but can also produce damaging flood disasters.

In collaboration with the Office of Naval Research, CVP is expected to support activities of the Propagation of Intra-seasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) Departmental Research Initiative with the projects funded in FY17. The CVP component of the PISTON also contributes to the Years of Maritime Continent (YMC), an international project that creates a collaborative framework for multi-disciplinary field observations and modeling to better understand the role of the Maritime Continent on the global weather-climate continuum. YMC is co-led by the Indonesian Meteorology Service (BMKG) and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).

The selected projects investigate different processes that affect the speed, intensity, disruption, and/or geographic placement of the MJO propagation by using a combination of in-situ/ ship-based/remote observations, data analysis, modeling, and/or theoretical understanding of local and remote processes.

The new competitively selected projects funded by the CVP program in FY17 are:

  • “Role of Air-Sea-Land Interaction in the MJO Prediction Barrier over the Maritime Continent: A Cloud-Resolving Coupled Modeling Study” — Lead PI: Shuyi Chen (University of Washington), Co-PI: Chris Fairall (NOAA/ESRL)
  • “Ship-based Observations of Atmospheric Boundary and Ocean Interactions near the Philippines during PISTON” — Lead PI: Chris Fairall (NOAA/ESRL/PSD), Co-PI: Alan Brewer (NOAA/ESRL/CSD)
  • “Modulation of MJO-Diurnal Cycle Interaction over the Maritime Continent”  — Lead PI: Samson Hagos (PNNL, Battelle Memorial Institute), Co-PI: Robert Joyce (NOAA/NCEP); Chidong Zhang (NOAA/PMEL); Collaborator: Agie Wandala Putra (BMKG)
  • “Influences of the Maritime Continent on the Eastward Propagation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation" — Lead PI: Xianan Jiang (UCLA), Co-PI: Ming Zhao (GFDL/NOAA), Duane Waliser (UCLA/JPL), Baoqiang Xiang (GFDL/NOAA); Collaborator: Shian-Jiann Lin (GFDL/NOAA)
  • “Spatial structure of diurnal variability from profiling float arrays” — Lead PI: T. M. Shaun Johnston (Scripps), Co-PI: Daniel L Rudnick (Scripps)
  • “Propagation and predictability of the tropical intraseasonal oscillation in the Maritime Continent region” — Lead PI: Kazuyoshi Kikuchi (University of Hawaii), Co-PI: George N. Kiladis (NOAA/ESRL/PSD), Kunio Yoneyama and Tomoe Nasuno (JAMSTEC), Tomoki Miyakawa (U. Tokyo)
  • “Maritime Continent as a barrier to the MJO propagation: an analysis of the sensitivity of convection to column moisture” — Lead PI: Zhiming Kuang (Harvard University), Collaborator: David Adams (Universidad Autonoma de Mexico)
  • “Producing and diagnosing a regional analysis with data assimilation at a cloud-permitting scale to support YMC and PISTON” — Lead PI: Zhaoxia Pu (University of Utah), Co-PI: Agie Wandala Putra (BMKG), Collaborator: Chidong Zhang (NOAA/PMEL)
  • “Controls on upper ocean processes that impact intraseasonal variability in the Maritime Continent Region” — ead PI: Kelvin Richards (University of Hawaii)
  • “Identifying the Relative Roles of Precursors Associated with Observed versus Modeled MJO Propagation across the Maritime Continent” — Lead PI: Naoko Sakaeda (NOAA/ESRL/PSD), Co-PI: Juliana Dias (Uni Colorado/CIRES) and George Kiladis (NOAA/ESRL/PSD)
  • “Convective multi-scale interactions over the Maritime Continent during the propagation of the MJO” — Lead PI: Courtney Schumacher (Texas A&M University), BMKG radar team: Mr. Riris Adriyanto (Head of Division for Remote Sensing Imagery Management), Mr. Taufiq Hidayah (Chief of Radar Data Management Sub Division), Mr. Iddam Haeruly Umam (radar meteorologist), Mr. Wahyu Argo (radar meteorologist), Mr. Abdullah Ali (radar meteorologist)
  • “Upper ocean processes in the Maritime Continent and their impact on the air-sea interaction and MJO predictability” — Lead PI: Toshiaki Shinoda (Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi), Co-PI: Hyodae Seo (WHOI), Wanqiu Wang (NOAA/NCEP/CPC)
  • “The Role of Ocean Stratification in the Propagation of Intraseasonal Oscillations” — Lead PI: Janet Sprintall (Scripps)
  • “High-Resolution Precipitation Product and Analysis for YMC” — Lead PI: Chidong Zhang (NOAA/PMEL), Co-PI: Pingping Xie (NOAA/NCEP/CPC), Robert Joyce (NOAA/NCEP/CPC), and Brandon Kerns (U Miami); Iddam Hairuly Umam (BMKG); Reza Bayu Perdana (BMKG)

2018 Federal Funding Opportunities at a Glance

Important Dates/Deadlines

Letters of Intent

(LOIs) for all three competitions should be received through email by 5:00 p.m. ET on January 5, 2018

Full Applications

Full applications for the RISA competition must be received by 5:00pm on March 5, 2018.

Full applications for COCA/RISA and IRAP competitions must be received by 5:00 p.m. ET on March 16, 2018.

Applications received after these dates and times will not be considered for funding.

Applications must be submitted via www.grants.gov. For applications submitted through grants.gov, the basis for determining timeliness is the receipt notice issued by www.grants.gov, which includes the date and time received.

For applicants without internet access,

please contact the CPO Grants Manager Diane Brown by mail at NOAA Climate Program Office (R/CP1), SSMC3, Room 12734, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 to obtain an application package. Please allow two weeks after receipt for a response. Hard copy submissions will be date and time stamped when they are received in the Climate Program Office.

Emailed or faxed copies of applications will not be accepted.

Competitions/Information Sheets

Competition 1: RISA – South Central Region

Contact: Meredith Muth
Applicants should consider tackling interconnections among multiple issues relevant to a region as opposed to an individual project addressing site-specific analysis. Climate will have implications for a myriad of interconnected management and planning decisions in the region. From their own research and interactions with decision makers, applicants should identify the most important climate-sensitive issues and management challenges for their proposed region. Special consideration should be given to those communities or stakeholders in the regions for whom there is currently less direct engagement with climate information science and service providers/entities. Applicants should also consider NOAA mission-oriented topics that could benefit from the work of a RISA who could integrate information from and work across multiple issues. RISA activities should address a number of the societal challenges identified in NOAA’s Next-Generation Strategic Plan (NGSP): i) climate impacts on water resources; ii) coasts and climate resilience; iii) sustainability of marine ecosystems; and iv) changes in the extremes of weather and climate. These efforts support NOAA’s vision to create and sustain enhanced resilience in ecosystems, communities, and economies, as outlined in the NGSP. We do not, however, anticipate that a proposed RISA would work solely in these areas.

Competition 2: COCA/RISA – Pilot on Coastal Climate Extension Competition

Contact: Adrienne Antoine / Lisa Vaughan
The COCA and RISA programs are collaborating on a two-year pilot project to support and expand coastal climate extension within the RISA network. For FY18, the COCA program is soliciting proposals for coastal climate extension specialists in up to two RISA coastal regions (Mid-Atlantic and South Central).

Competition 3: IRAP - Decision Support Research on Climate-Sensitive Health Risks

Contact: Lisa Vaughan
IRAP will consider proposals for interdisciplinary, applied science, stakeholder engagement, and capacity building that advances the integration of weather and climate research, assessments and services in practical risk management settings related to health risks that affect US interests at home and abroad. Health risks of particular interest include: temperature-related mortality and illness; infectious and vector borne diseases; flooding due to extreme events such as hurricanes; air quality impacts; water and food-borne illnesses; nutrition, and food and water distribution. Specifically, IRAP will consider proposals related to the following: 1) Decision Support Research and Application on Climate-Sensitive Health Risks in Transboundary Regions of the United States, in Partnership with the NOAA/CSI Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment Program; and 2) Developing and Using Subseasonal and Seasonal Global Health Risk Maps, Prediction Tools and Information to Anticipate and Manage Climate-Sensitive Health Risk.

Where to Submit

Application packages:
Visit Grants.gov and
click on Apply for Grants. You may also directly view the Grants.gov listing here.

Federal Funding Opportunity Number:

Applicants without Internet access:
Please send mail to:
Diane Brown
CPO Grants Manager
NOAA Climate Program Office (R/CP1), SSMC3, Room 12734
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Please allow two weeks after receipt for a response.

For Federal Investigators

Federal lead investigators who wish to apply to this Announcement of Opportunity must prepare a proposal according to the FFO guidelines and submit the proposal to the program manager directly, instead of to Grants.gov. Federal co-investigators must submit a proposal identical to the proposal lead's but with personalized budget information.

Letters of Intent for Federal investigators should be received by the Competition Manager by 5:00 p.m. ET on January 5, 2018 for all competitions.

Full applications for the RISA competition must be received by 5:00pm on March 2, 2018. Full applications for COCA/RISA and IRAP competitions must be received by 5:00 p.m. ET on March 13, 2018.


Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2011, the United States experienced a record high number (14) of climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 670 lives, caused more than 6,000 injuries, and cost $55 billion in damages. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.


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