Skip to main content

Atmospheric Convection and Air-Sea Interactions over the Tropical Oceans

Boulder, CO



Over the last thirty years, the scientific community has made considerable progress in understanding tropical convection and air-sea interactions, thanks to sustained investments in extensive in situ and remote sensing observations, field experiments, advances in climate modeling, and vastly improved computational resources. Such investments would not have been fruitful if it were not for integration and the collaborative spirit of research in the atmospheric convection and air-sea interaction communities.

However, challenges still remain and point to the limitations in our understanding of air-sea coupling, especially when convective processes over a broad range of scales and teleconnections are involved. Advances in technology and increases in societal demands for improved prediction accuracy are raising the expectations for scientific outcomes. The technological advances include innovative in situ and remote observing platforms and instruments, expansion of computing infrastructure, which enable global convective and ocean-eddy resolving climate modeling, and data analysis and processing capabilities, such as machine learning and data assimilation. These advances are taking place in the context of evolving broader research priorities and community activities, such as the increased recognition of the need for understanding the predictability and improving prediction skill at subseasonal to decadal scales (e.g., S2S Prediction Project, Coupled CMIP6 projects) and designing an integrated and sustainable approach to remote sensing and in situ observations (e.g., the 2017-2027 US Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space, Tropical Pacific Observing Systems 2020).

This workshop helped the tropical convection and air-sea interaction communities to strategize for effective use of these advanced technologies in order to address the critical scientific issues in a way that contributes to and leverages ongoing and upcoming broader community activities.

This workshop aimed to:

  1. Review and document progress and lessons learned in tropical atmospheric convection and air-sea interaction research over the last 30 years
  2. Identify outstanding issues and propose approaches for potential future integrated process studies that effectively use advanced technologies to address them
  3. Identify strategies for leveraging and contributing to ongoing and future broader community activities

The workshop had four closely connected themes – i) convection observations, ii) convection modeling, iii) air-sea interaction observations, and iv) air-sea interaction modeling, as seen in the schematic below. These themes were discussed within the context of progress and lessons from past activities, gaps in understanding and modeling, technological advancement, and broader scientific community activities. The overarching objective of the workshop was to identify key scientific problems that could benefit from coordinated modeling and observational efforts and potentially drive future process studies involving the tropical convection and air-sea interaction communities.

schematic of meeting themes


The workshop brought together scientists and other experts involved in research, observational and modeling technologies, and ongoing community efforts. Over 90 scientists attended the workshop.


The meeting was held over two and a half days, consisting of plenary sessions including invited talks, a poster session, in-depth plenary and breakout discussions, and a networking event. Live broadcast of the plenary sessions was available to online participants.


The organizing committee summarized the outcomes of the workshop in a BAMS article "Atmospheric Convection and Air-Sea Interactions over the Tropical Oceans: Scientific Progress, Challenges and Opportunities". As well, a more thorough summary of the workshop is now available via the US CLIVAR Workshop Report.


Scientific Organizing Committee

Samson Hagos, Pacific Northwest National Lab. (Chair)
Greg Foltz, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Lab. (Co-chair)
Antonietta Capotondi, NOAA Earth System Research Lab.
Sue Chen, Naval Research Lab.
Alain Protat, Australian Bureau of Meteorology
Hyodae Seo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Elizabeth Thompson, U. Washington
Dongxiao Wang, South China Sea Institute, Chinese Academy of Science
Chidong Zhang, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab.

Program Organizing Committee

Jeff Becker (US CLIVAR)
Mike Patterson (US CLIVAR)
Jennie Zhu (US CLIVAR)

Workshop Sponsors


NOAA, NSF, and DOE logos



Meeting Menu



Poster Gallery




Tuesday, May 7
08:30 – 17:00

Wednesday, May 8
08:30 – 17:00

Thursday, May 9
8:30 – 12:00  

Registration Information

Registration Fees

Day Rate - General Registration: $120

Day Rate - Early Career Scientist / Student: $60

General Registration: $200

Early Career Scientist: $100

Federal Program Sponsor: $200