NOAA Water Cycle Science Challenge Workshop

30 August – 1 September 2011
NOAA Earth System Research Laboratories
Boulder, Colorado

Co-Chairs: Dr. F. Martin Ralph (NOAA) and Dr. Robert Davis (USACE)
Logistics Contact: Shawn Dowd, (303) 497-6476
Download Final Agenda (with session chairs and speakers)


As part of a recent NOAA report Strengthening NOAA Science, which was sponsored by the NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the following NOAA Science Grand Challenge was identified: "Improve understanding of the water cycle at global to local scales to improve our ability to forecast weather, climate, water resources and ecosystem health. (A brief synopsis of the water-cycle related material is available at:

As a next step in developing strategies to address this, a Science Challenge Workshop is being organized on this topic to solicit input from the broad community of scientists and users of fresh water information. The workshop purpose, technical topics, key questions and agenda overview have been developed by an interagency planning committee and approved by the NOAA Research Council.

Workshop Purpose

To discuss and develop recommendations to NOAA Leadership, including the NOAA Research Council, that will inform the next NOAA 5-Year Research Plan on the topic of: "Understanding and predicting conditions associated with either too much or too little water".

To fulfill this purpose the Water Cycle Science Challenge Workshop will:

  • encompass the current state of understanding;
  • identify gaps that can be addressed over the next 5-years;
  • identify NOAA's role in filling those gaps in concert with external partners and other institutions over the next 5-years;
  • outline the expected benefits of filling the gaps.






Breakout Session Reports

Panel 1 Science Directions for Hydrologic Predictions

Panel 2 Science Directions for Climate Applications