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NOAA Climate Program Office’s MAPP program awards $2.7 million for new climate monitoring to support risk assessment


CPO’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program is announcing seven new three-year projects for Fiscal Years 2022-2024 that aim to develop new model-based monitoring products addressing key climate impact areas. The competitively-selected projects total $2.7M, including $2.7M in grants and $45K in other awards.

These projects are focused on developing new or experimental monitoring products that use modeling or model-adjacent approaches such as reanalysis, data assimilation, or artificial intelligence. The projects will provide new monitoring products relevant to high-priority climate risk areas around which the Climate Program Office is organizing some of its activities. These include extreme heat, hydroclimate and water resources with a focus on pluvial conditions, and coastal inundation.

Projects will make a number of key new advances including the development of an experimental flash drought monitor, new fine-scale coastal sea level monitoring data that fills gaps between tide gauges, and new products highlighting heat risks. They may, but are not required to, be specific to near-term foci under CPO’s risk area activities, which include water in the Great Lakes region under the water resources effort, urban heat under the extreme heat effort, and East and Gulf Coast inundation under the coastal inundation effort.

Funded projects have a strong process focus, are grounded in physical drivers of climate variability and change, and account for complex and multi-variate linkages within and between climate system components. They take into account the utility of monitoring products to stakeholders through documented criteria describing thresholds, metrics, and categorical criteria needed by stakeholders who make decisions related to the areas of extreme heat, water resources, and coastal inundation. Products may also fill information gaps in the National Climate Assessment or the USGCRP Indicators Platform.

Proposals were required to involve a NOAA investigator or collaborator and to demonstrate relevance of intended new products to one or more NOAA Line Offices. Within NOAA, collaborators in the below projects are from the National Ocean Service Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (NOS-CO-OPS), National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), Climate Prediction Center (CPC), Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL).

The seven new projects funded by the MAPP program, with co-funding from CPO’s Climate Observations and Monitoring (COM) program for one project for FY22-24, are:

  • A multi-decadal Coastal Water Level Model Reanalysis for coastal inundation and flood risk assessment
    • This project will use the state-of-the-science storm surge and tide model ADCIRC 1 model and reanalysis meteorological fields to compute a high resolution, multi-decadal, Coastal Water Level Reanalysis (CWLR) for the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts.
    • Lead-PI: Brian Blanton, Renaissance Computing Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Co-PI: Rick Luettich, Institute of Marine Sciences, Center for Natural Hazards Resilience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Federal Collaborator: William Sweet, NOAA NOS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (NOS-CO-OPS)
    • Federal Collaborator: Greg Dusek, NOAA NOS CO-OPS


  • Monitoring smoke hazards across the western United States: Tools for fire scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders
    • This project, co-funded with the CPO COM program proposes to develop two monitoring products: a smoke risk index to  identify regions where potential fires could lead to the greatest smoke exposure among populations downwind; and a machine learning algorithm to streamline the process by which smoke plumes are detected in satellite data.
    • PI: Loretta J. Mickley, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138)
    • Federal Collaborator: Heath Hockenberry (NIFC)
    • Federal Collaborator: John Simko (NOAA NESDIS)
    • Federal Collaborator: Wilfrid Schroeder (NOAA NESDIS)
    • Collaborator: Christine Wiedinmyer (CIRES)


  • Century-scale variations and trends in heat stress metrics
    • This project will address how still-unprecedented early 20th-century heat waves, particularly those during the 1930s, compare to modern events with regard to human health stress metrics. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis version 3 (20CRv3) will be used to characterize the synoptic-scale features of heat events, including regional lower-tropospheric wind flow patterns that affect heat and moisture advection and hemispheric patterns of mid-tropospheric geopotential height anomalies, including blocking high occurrences.
    • Lead-PI: Kenneth E. Kunkle, North Carolina State University (NCSU)/North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCICS) (Asheville, NC 28801)
    • Co-PI: Brooke C. Stewart, NCSU/NCICS (Asheville, NC 28801)
    • Co-PI: Laura E. Stevens, NCSU/NCICS (Asheville, NC 28801)
    • Co-PI: Ronald D. Leeper, NCSU/NCICS (Asheville, NC 28801)
    • Co-I: J. Jared Rennie, NCSU/NCICS (Asheville, NC 28801)
    • Co-I: Jennifer R. Runkle, NCSU/NCICS (Asheville, NC 28801)
    • Collaborator: Gilbert P. Compo (CIRES)
    • Federal Collaborator: David R. Easterling (NOAA NCEI)
    • Federal Collaborator: Matthew Menne (NOAA NCEI)


  • Evaluation and development of a Southeast US heat vulnerability index using a wet bulb globe temperature approach
    • This project, centered at the Carolinas RISA, will develop a real-time Heat Vulnerability Index monitor, similar to the US Drought Monitor, for operational use in collaboration with stakeholders in the Southeast.
    • Lead-PI: Dr. Kathie Dello, State Climate Office of North Carolina (Raleigh, NC 27695)
    • PI: J. Jared Rennie, NCSU/NCICS (Asheville, NC 28801)
    • PI: Dr. Shawn Milrad, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL 32114)


  • Monitoring the climatology and extremes of coastal sea levels for the U.S. coast
    • This project will develop a sea level monitoring product that communicates how daily-to-seasonal fluctuations of coastal water levels evolve with respect to the longer-term climatology. In addition to monitoring extreme sea levels, the product will also aid in understanding the processes contributing to sea level anomalies.
    • Lead-PI: Matthew J. Widlanksy, University of Hawaii Sea Level Center (UHSLC) (Honolulu, HI 96822)
    • PI: Gregory Dusek, NOS-CO-OPS (Silver Spring, MD 20910)
    • Collaborator: Philip Thompson, Oceanography Department and UHSLC
    • Federal Collaborator: William Sweet, NOS-CO-OPS
    • Federal Collaborator: John J. Marra, NESDIS-NCEI


  • Development of a comprehensive flash drought monitoring framework
    • This project will develop an experimental flash drought monitor that will provide a comprehensive assessment of the spatial extent and severity of flash droughts using a multivariate monitoring framework. It will also directly benefit the Climate Prediction Center and the authors of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor analyses through development of a framework that will enhance their ability to monitor the rapid evolution and severity of flash drought.
    • PI: Jason A. Otkin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS)/Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) (Madison, WI 53706)
    • Co-PI: Trent Ford, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL 61820)
    • Federal Collaborator: Hailan Wang, NOAA Climate Prediction Center
    • Federal Collaborator: Andrew Hoell, NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory
    • Collaborator: Mark Svoboda, National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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