Arctic and Global Prediction Program

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Arctic and Global Prediction Program is motivated by the observed changes in the physical Arctic environment, and the desire to better understand and predict this environment at a variety of time and space scales. The ability to provide useful forecasts of the operational environment, such as the location of the ice edge, the characteristics and evolution of sea ice, and the wind and wave conditions at the surface will be critical to enable safe and efficient naval operations in the Arctic. To achieve this, Arctic system models that integrate the ocean, waves, ice and atmosphere must appropriately represent the physical processes, interactions and feedbacks involved in the seasonal evolution of ice extent, area, thickness and volume. Consequently, the program has three focus areas:

  • Improving understanding of the physical environment and key processes in the Arctic Ocean
  • Investigating new technologies, e.g., sensors, platforms, navigation and communications, that may enable a sustained observational capability in the challenging Arctic environment
  • Developing integrated ocean-ice-wave-atmosphere models for improved Arctic prediction at a variety of time scales

The Arctic and Global Prediction Program is always interested in receiving planning letters for any research that addresses the three focus areas above, which are supported by the program’s core funding. For FY17 (beginning October 1, 2016), the program is particularly interested in research that addresses the following topics:

  • Remote sensing of sea ice characteristics and features such as fractures, leads and ridges
  • Sea ice modeling at spatial resolutions from meters to a kilometer
  • Sensitivity, predictability, and data assimilation for models of the physical Arctic system

While scientific quality is always the most important factor of the review process, an additional significant criterion is the priority of the research topic, which is based on a number of factors including the current funding profile of the overall Arctic program. If we are already funding a number of significant efforts in a particular research area, the addition of more work on that topic may be of lower priority than supporting new research efforts on a topic in which we have few funded projects. Thus, prospective investigators should note that the Arctic and Global Prediction Program has two, five-year Departmental Research Initiatives (DRI)s currently underway: “Sea State and Boundary Layer Physics of the Emerging Arctic Ocean" and "Stratified Ocean Dynamics in the Arctic," with a recent DRI on the “Emerging Dynamics of the Marginal Ice Zone” nearing completion in 2016.

In addition to the DRIs mentioned above, the program has a new, five-year DRI that will begin in the coming year — "Arctic Mobile Observing System science (AMOS)" — which will run from FY17 through FY21. This DRI is aimed at enhancing the scientific and technical understanding required to enable a mobile autonomous observational network in the Arctic, and a more complete description is provided via the link above.

Planning letters for research to be supported by the 322AG core program or the AMOS DRI in FY17 should be prepared according to these guidelines and submitted no later than June 30, 2016. The purpose of planning letters is to allow prospective investigators to submit a brief description of their scientific ideas so that we may evaluate them and offer programmatic and technical feedback before time is invested in writing a full proposal. This allows us to give you some indication of the likely success of a full proposal based on program interests and priorities.

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Scott Harper

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 32

Division: Ocean Atmosphere and Space Research


Office of Naval Research
875 N. Randolph Street
Arlington, Va. 22203

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