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Oceana Puananilei Francis

Associate Professor – Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering/Sea Grant College Program
Office: POST203D
Phone: (808) 956-6555

Areas of Specialty and Research Interest

Resilient urban communities and infrastructure systems from hydrodynamic hazards; circulation and transport in nearshore regions and oceans; wave hydrodynamics; sea level rise; sea ice affecting oceanic processes.


  • Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 2012
  • M.Sc., Civil Engineering, University of Alaska, Anchorage, 2004
  • B.Sc., Civil Engineering, University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK, 2002
  • B.Sc., Physics & Astronomy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1995

Professional Registration

  • Professional Engineer (Civil), License No. 15223, State of Hawaii
  • Professional Engineer (Civil), License No. 11226, State of Alaska


  • Aug 2012 – Present, Assistant, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Sea Grant College Program, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI
  • Mar-Aug 2012, Post-Doctoral Fellow, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
  • 2005-2011, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
  • May-Aug 2009, Engineer, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Anchorage, AK
  • 2003-2005, Engineer, Tryck Nyman Hayes, Inc. Anchorage, AK
  • 2002-2003, Graduate Research Fellow, School of Engineering, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
  • 2000-2002, Engineer, Village Safe Water, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Anchorage, AK

Courses Taught (in the last five years)

  • CEE320: Fluid Mechanics Fundamentals (S’15, S’16, S’17, S’18)
  • CEE421: Engineering Hydraulics
  • CEE440: Vulnerability & Adaptation on Coastal Infrastructure (S’16, F’20 offered as CEE 491 S’15, F’15))
  • CEE622: Fluid Mechanics  (F’17)
  • CEE691: Seminar in Civil and Environmental Engineering (F’16)
  • CEE696: Selected Topics in Civil Engr (F’19 ( two courses)
  • CEE696: Coastal Flood Mitigation  (F’20)

 Professional Activities

  • Editor for Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, American Meteorological Society (JTECH-O AMS), 2018-present
  • Cooperating Faculty of the Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering at University of Hawaii, 2016-present
  • Co-Convener, Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS) 15th Annual Meeting, OS20 “Building Resilience – Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Challenges”, June 3-8, 2018, Honolulu, HI
  • Scientific Review Committee, Co-Convener, and Closing Invited Speaker, Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRIMO) Conference, March 20-23, 2017, Honolulu, HI
  • Convener, 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, 030 “Wind-generated waves and storm surge from meteorological activity”, February 23-28, 2014, Honolulu, HI
  • Review Panel, UH Sea Grant College Program 2014-2016 Biennial Grant Award Cycle
  • Review Panel, NSF Tribal College and Universities Program
  • Review Panel, Maui County
  • Peer Review, NSF CMMI – Hazard Mit & Structural Engineering
  • Peer Review, Ocean Engineering
  • Peer Review, Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
  • Peer Review, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans
  • Peer Review, Geophysical Research Letters
  • Peer Review, Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres
  • Peer Review, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Fairbanks Branch, President (2010-2011), Vice-President (2009-2010), Secretary/Treasurer (2008-2009)

Awards and Honors

  • 2015, Inaugural Award for Exemplary Multi-Institutional and Regional Collaborations in the Service of Citizen Science, National Center for Science and Civic Engagement
  • 2010, Young Engineer of the Year Award, Alaska Society of Professional Engineers, Fairbanks Chapter
  • 2010, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Graduate Scholarship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • 2005-2007, College of Natural Science & Mathematics Graduate Fellowship, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 2006-2007, Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MSPHDS) in Earth System Science, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Science Foundation
  • 2005, International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP) II Scholarship, Danish Polar Center
  • 2002-2003, Alaska Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Infrastructure and Systems for Cold Regions (ISCR) Graduate Fellowship, National Science Foundation and the State of Alaska

Research Grants

  1. Oceana Francis (PI), Guohui Zhang, Horst Brandes, David Ma (co-PIs), Statewide Highway Shoreline Protection Program Study Update, Supplemental Task Agreement (2017-1A-S1), Hawaii Department of Transportation, $85,000, 07/01/2018 – 06/30/2020.
  2. Oceana Francis (PI), Stormwater Management for Transportation Planners and Engineers, University of Hawaii (via UH Pacific Southwest Region 9 University Transportation Center), $25,000, 07/01/2018 – 09/30/2019.
  3. Oceana Francis (PI), Horst Brandes, David Ma (co-PIs), Statewide Highway Shoreline Protection Program Study Update, Task Agreement (2017-1A), Hawaii Department of Transportation, $700,000, 07/01/2017 – 06/30/2020.
  4. Mehana Vaughan , Kamana Beamer, Greg Chun, Malia Akutagawa, Malia Nobrega-Oliveira (co-PIs); Noelani Puniwai, Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, Kekuewa Kikiloi, Rosie Alegado, Oceana Francis, Noa Lincoln and Carl Evensen (Leadership Team), Kūʻokoʻa: Sustaining Abundant ʻĀina & Resilient Leadership, Strategic Investment Initiative, OVCR, University of Hawaii, $327,241, 01/01/18 – 06/30/19.
  5. Davianna McGregor (PI), Christopher Baker, Rosie Alegado, Oceana Francis, Joshua Kaakua (co-PIs), Indigenous Hawaiian Science and Resilient Islands under the project “Engaging Sustainability and Resilience of Island Ecosystems, Stewardship and Indigenous Sciences: Enhancing Student, Faculty and Community Capacity, Strategic Investment Initiative, OVCR, University of Hawaii, $47,000, 01/01/18 – 06/30/19.
  6. Oceana Francis, National disaster preparedness training center (NDPTC), Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency,  $22,000, 5/15/2017 – 7/15/2017.
  7. Oceana Francis, Modernization of Coastal Processes Modeling, Department of Defense, $30,000, 8/15/2016 – 10/14/2017.
  8. Oceana Francis (PI), Scott Miller, Thanh Nguyen (co-PIs), Broadening Participation of Native Hawaiians for Engineering Faculty Careers, National Science Foundation, $660,720, 11/01/2015 – 10/31/2019.
  9. Roger Babcock (PI), Sayed Bateni, Steve Dollar, Oceana Francis (coPIs), Nutrient and Sediment Contributions from Urban Storm Water, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, $66,525, 11/03/2014 – 12/30/2015.
  10. Roger Babcock (PI), Sayed Bateni, Oceana Francis (coPIs), Preliminary Engineering Analysis and Development of Retrofit Designs: Sediment Retention at Honokowai Structure #8, Wahikuli-Honokowai Priority Site, Maui, Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, $51,000, 10/15/2013-09/30/2014.
  11. Oceana Francis, Physical Oceanographic and Meteorological Data for Beaufort and Chukchi Seas to Support Reliability-based Design Criteria for Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Structures, University of Alaska Fairbanks, $36,000, 07/01/2013  – 06/30/2015.
  12. Oceana Francis, Design and development of a public water supply system for Moku o Loʻe (Coconut Island), Hawai’i, USA, Sea Grant College Program, University of Hawaii. $42,000,  06/01/2013 – 12/31/2016.
  13. Oceana Francis, Cordova Sectional Barge Study, University of Alaska Fairbanks, $11,226, 09/01/2012 – 08/31/2013.
  14. Oceana Francis, Water, Energy and Soil Sustainability (WESS) Course Development, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), $22,644. 08/01/2012 – 06/30/2013.

Grants – Equipment and Logistic Support

  1. Oceana Francis, Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers AND SonTek ARGONAUT-MD 600m single point doppler current meters, National Data Buoy Center,  $409,402, 10/01/2015 –12/28/2016.
  2. Oceana Francis, Kaho’olawe Wave and Current Measurement Study, Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission, $85,000, 08/01/2014 – 07/31/2015.

Recent Selected Publications *denotes O. Francis’ student(s)/postdocs

  • Book chapters
  1. Stroh, J.N., S. Kirillov, G. Panteleev, O. Francis, M. Yaremchuk, E. Bloshkina and N. Lebedev (November 5th 2018). Changes in Arctic Ocean Climate Evinced through Analysis of IPY 2007–2008 Oceanographic Observations in Arctic Studies – A Proxy for Climate Change [Online First], IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.80926. Available from:
  2. Francis, O., Coastal Adaptive Design and Adaptation, In Climate-Resilient Infrastructure: Adaptive Design and Risk Management, MOP 140, Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate, American Society of Civil Engineers, Ed’s: B. M. Ayyub, D. Walker, R. N. Wright, T. Vinson, M. Medina. (2018). ISBN 9780784415191,
  3. Panteleev G., M. Yaremchuk, V. Luchin, O. Francis, The Bering Sea Regional Data Assimilation System: From Climate Variability to Short Term Hindcasting,  In The Ocean in Motion – Circulation, Waves, Polar Oceanography, Springer Oceanography,  Ed’s: M. G. Velarde, R. Tarakanov, A.V. Marchenko, (2017), ISBN 978-3-319-71933-7,
  • Articles
  1. Togia, H.*, O. Francis, K. Kim, G. Zhang (2019). Segment-based approach for assessing hazard risk of coastal highways in Hawai’i. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Sage Publications Inc.
  2. Kim, K., O. Francis, E. Yamashita (2018). Learning to Build Resilience into Transportation Systems. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Sage Publications Inc.
  3. Onat, Y.*, M. Marchant*, O. Francis and K. Kim (2018). Coastal exposure of the Hawaiian Islands using GIS-based index modeling. Ocean & Coastal Management, 163, 113-129, ISSN 0964-5691,
  4. Onat, Y.*, O. Francis and K. Kim (2018). Vulnerability assessment and adaptation to sea level rise in high-wave environments: A case study on O’ahu, Hawai’i, Ocean & Coastal Management, 157, 147-159, ISSN 0964-5691, 
  5. Francis, O., Panteleev, M. Yaremchuk, V. Luchin, J. Stroh, P. Posey, D. Herbert (2018). Observing System Simulation Experiments and Adjoint Sensitivity Analysis – methods for observational programs in the Arctic Ocean. Arctic, Vol. 71, Suppl. 1, 1-14,
  6. Francis, O.P., M. Yaremchuk, G.G. Panteleev, J. Zhang, and M. Kulakov (2017). Anomalous circulation in the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean in July-December 2008. Ocean Modelling, 117, 12-27, 
  7. Panteleev, G., M. Yaremchuk, O. Francis, P.J. Stabeno, T. Weingartner, and J. Zhang (2016), An inverse modeling study of circulation in the Eastern Bering Sea during 2007-2010. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 121, 3970-3989, doi:10.1002/2015JC011287.
  8. Panteleev G., M. Yaremchuk, O. Francis, T. Kikuchi (2013). Configuring High Frequency Radar observations in the Southern Chukchi Sea. Polar Science, 7(2), 72-81, 
  9. Francis, O.P. and D.E. Atkinson (2012). Synoptic forcing of wave state in the southeast Chukchi Sea, Alaska, at an offshore location. Natural Hazards, Volume 62, Number 3, 1169-1189, doi:10.1007/s11069-012-0142-4. 
  10. Francis, O.P. and D.E. Atkinson (2012). Synoptic forcing of wave state in the southeast Chukchi Sea, Alaska, at nearshore locations. Natural Hazards, Volume 62, Number 3, 1273-1300, doi:10.1007/s11069-012-0148-y. 
  11. Francis, O.P., G.G. Panteleev, and D.E. Atkinson (2011), Ocean wave conditions in the Chukchi Sea from satellite and in situ observations, Res. Lett., 38, L24610, doi:10.1029/2011GL049839.

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