COMET Outreach Program Request for Office of Water Prediction (OWP)/National Water Center (NWC) Partners Project Proposals

COMET announces its Outreach Program Request for Proposals (RFP) for National Water Center (NWC) Partners Projects, which are described below. Applications for the COMET Partners Projects are accepted at any time as long as funds are available. Guidelines for proposal submission can be found at the NWC Partners Proposals page.

RFP Goal

Since 1989, the COMET Outreach Program has provided financial support to over 80 universities for applied meteorological and hydrological research conducted in collaboration with operational forecast offices. This current initiative is with NOAA’s National Water Center (NWC).
The new NWC facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is part of a larger programmatic structure of the NWS/OWP that includes units in Maryland and Minnesota.  It was established to research, develop, and deliver state-of-the-science national hydrologic analyses, forecast information, data, decision-support services, and guidance to inform essential emergency services and water management decisions. In partnership with NWS national, regional, and local offices, the OWP coordinates, integrates, and supports consistent water prediction activities from global to local levels.
The OWP implemented a CONUS-scale instantiation of the WRF-Hydro modeling framework as the first version of a National Water Model (NWM) in August of 2016. This version of WRF-Hydro couples the NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) forcing data from operational numerical weather prediction models with the NOAH-MP land-surface model and diffusive wave hydrologic routing to produce water budget variables on the 1-km grid and streamflow estimates on the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) NHDPlusV2 catchment/network flow line scale.

Under the management of the COMET Outreach Program, the OWP will provide support up to six Partners Projects. The purpose of this RFP is to broaden OWP and NWS water resource programmatic activities by encouraging university researchers with hydrologic expertise to partner with current NWC or other OWP employees in advancing water science and operations. Proposal topics should include (but are not limited to) the following research areas of interest:

  • Technique development to assess local and regional skill and performance of using the operational output from the NWM: Projects in this category should explore the validation of the full suite of water budget variable(e.g. streamflow, soil moisture, surface flux) data on local networks; methods for comparing against in-situ observations, or post-processing techniques such as time-lagged ensembles.
  • Anthropogenic processes: Projects in this category should explore methods by which regulation (reservoirs, diversion, consumptive-use) can be either explicitly (e.g. with reservoir models) or implicitly represented in modeling frameworks such as the NWM. The use of data assimilation strategies and applications of computer science approaches such as machine learning is encouraged.
  • Hydro-informatics, visualization and data integration: Projects in this category may include methods for exploring, understanding and managing complex data problems such as the large volume of information within the NWM suite.  Techniques to visualize data and refine complex water resource variables to inform the decision-maker are encouraged, as are methods to integrate NWM output with geospatial flood extent and depth information.
  • Hydrologic Ensembles: Projects in this category should potential aspects to improve or extend the implementation of the Hydrologic Ensemble Forecast Service (HEFS, see http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00081.1, http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/hrl/general/HEFS_doc/HEFS_CONOPS_Requirements_Final.pdf).  Specific areas for study and improvement include hydrologic ensemble forecast post-processing (including in regulated river locations), ensemble forcings production, automatic data assimilation techniques, and rule-based application of ensemble forecasts for decision support. 

NWC Partners Projects
COMET Outreach Partners Projects provide support for collaborative applied research efforts that typically focus on a single case study or analysis problem. The purpose of this RFP is to broaden NWC and NWS water resource programmatic activities by encouraging university researchers with hydrologic expertise to partner with current NWC employees in advancing water science and operations.
Under the management of the COMET Outreach Program, the NWC will provide support for up to six Partners Projects that will last one year and have a maximum funding level of $15,000 per project. These proposals will be accepted beginning November 1, 2016, reviewed as they are received, and funded based on the selection criteria until all project funds have been awarded.
Partners Projects must be collaborative efforts with one or more primary NWC partner(s) who will actively collaborate in the research. NWC partners are located at the Tuscaloosa, AL; Silver Spring, MD; and Chanhassen, MN offices. If assistance is needed to identify potential collaborators, contact the NWC Program Manager (Sam Contorno Samuel.Contorno@noaa.gov). Additional collaborations with NWS River Forecast Centers or NCEP are encouraged although not required.
Application Procedure
Interested applicants can access the Outreach Proposal Instructions from the Partners Proposals page.
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