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Oceana Puananilei Francis

Oceana Puananilei Francis

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

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+ Associate, Assistant 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’16, S’17, S’18, S’21)
  • CEE421: Engineering Hydraulics
  • CEE440: Vulnerability & Adaptation on Coastal Infrastructure (S’16, F’20, S’22)
  • CEE489B: Surveying & AutoCAD (F’21)
  • CEE489C: Professional Ethics (F’21)
  • CEE490: Senior Design Project (S’22 Co-teach)
  • CEE622: Fluid Mechanics (F’17)
  • CEE624: Coastal Modeling (F’21)
  • CEE691: Seminar in Civil and Environmental Engineering (F’16)
  • CEE696: Selected Topics in Civil Engr: Coastal Modeling (F’19)
  • CEE696: Selected Topics in Civil Engr: Coastal Flood Mitigation (F’19, F’20)

 Professional and Institutional Activities

  • Nov 2021+ Vice-Chair, Senate Executive Committee Faculty Senate, College of Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • May 2021+ Senator, Manoa Faculty Senate, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • 2021+ Faculty Advisor, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • 1/2021-12/2021 BAM Program Coordinator and Undergraduate Advisor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • 2020+ Committee Member, Mapping Science Committee (MSC), National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  • 2020+ FEMA Instructor, National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • 2018+ Founder and President, Society of Native Hawaiian Engineers (SNHE)
  • 2018+ Editor, Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, American Meteorological Society (JTECH-O AMS)
  • 2018+ Committee Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) on 1) Civil Infrastructure and Lifeline Systems, 2) Disaster Response And Recovery, 3) Risk And Resilience Measurements Committee Member
  • 2016+ Cooperating Faculty, Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering at University of Hawaii
  • 2014+ Lab Manager, Hydraulics Laboratory (Physical laboratory), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at University of Hawaii
  • 2012+ Affiliate Research Associate, Assistant Professor, International Arctic Research Center, Fairbanks, AK
  • 2008-2011 President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Fairbanks Branch
  • Co-Convener, Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS) 15th Annual Meeting, 2018
  • Scientific Review Committee, Co-Convener, and Closing Invited Speaker, Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRIMO) Conference, 2017
  • Convener, Ocean Sciences Meeting, 2014
  • Review Panel for: UH Sea Grant College Program 2014-2016 Biennial Grant Award Cycle; NSF Tribal College and Universities Program; Maui County
  • Peer Review for: NSF CMMI – Hazard Mit & Structural Engineering; Ocean Engineering; Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology; Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans; Geophysical Research Letters; Peer Review, Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres; Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment

Awards and Honors

  • 2022 Hi Chang Chai Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • 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 ($400K+)

  1. Francis (co-PI), Development of a Nonlinear Reduced Order Modeling Framework For Marine Structures Operating in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Regions, NSF, $793,505, 01/22–12/24.
  2. Francis (co-PI), Evaluation of Sandsavers for Reduction of Erosion Rate and Shoreline Stabilization in Hawaii, HDOT, $ 442,593, 07/21–06/24.
  3. Francis (co-PI), Computation of Lateral Erosion Rates for Coastal Road Program, HDOT, $741,060, 04/21–03/24.
  4. Francis (PI), Assessment of County of Maui Coastal Roads for Effects of Climate Change, Sea Level Rise and Shoreline Erosion, County of Maui, $659,085, 05/20–01/24.
  5. Francis (PI), Coastal Modeling and Hardening Testing, HDOT, $446,168, 01/20–12/21.
  6. Francis(PI), Statewide Highway Shoreline Protection Program Study Update, Task Agreement (2017-1A), HDOT, $700,000, 07/17 – 06/20.
  7. Francis (PI), Broadening Participation of Native Hawaiians for Engineering Faculty Careers, NSF, $660,720, 11/2015 – 10/2019.
  8. Francis (PI), Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers AND SonTek ARGONAUT-MD 600m single point doppler current meters, NDBC,  $409,402, 10/2015 –12/2016.

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

  • Book Chapters

    1. Francis Oceana, Linqiang Yang*, Harrison Togia* and Gleb Panteleev (2021). Development of an Ocean Hazards Classification Scheme (OHCS) for Projecting Future Scenario Vulnerability Ranking on Coastal Built Infrastructure, In Coastal Environments. ISBN: 978-1-83881-038-2,

    2. Stroh, J.N., S. Kirillov, G. Panteleev, O. Francis, M. Yaremchuk, E. Bloshkina and N. Lebedev (2018). Changes in Arctic Ocean Climate Evinced through Analysis of IPY 2007–2008 Oceanographic Observations, In Arctic Studies – A Proxy for Climate Change. ISBN 978-1-78984-100-8,

    3. Francis, O., Coastal Adaptive Design and Adaptation, In Climate-Resilient Infrastructure: Adaptive Design and Risk Management, MOP 140, American Society of Civil Engineers. (2018). ISBN 9780784415191,

    4. 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, (2017), ISBN 978-3-319-71933-7,

  • Articles

    1. Onat, Y.* and O. Francis (2021). Strong extratropical cyclone generated ocean swells in the Northern Pacific from modeling and in-situ observations on the Hawaiian Islands. Ocean Modelling,

    2. Brandes, H., O. Doygun, O. Francis, G. Zhang, C. Rossi*, L. Yang*, H. Togia* (2021). CRESI: A susceptibility index methodology to assess roads threatened by coastal erosion, Ocean & Coastal Management, 213,

    3. Pipko, I., S. Pugach, V. Luchin, O. Francis, N. Savelieva, A. Charkin, O. Dudarev, I. Semiletov (2021). Surface CO2 system dynamics in the Gulf of Anadyr during the open water season, Continental Shelf Research, 104371, ISSN 0278-4343,

    4. Panteleev, G., Yaremchuk, M., Stroh, J. N., Francis, O. P., and Allard, R. (2020). Parameter Optimization in Sea Ice Models with Elastic-Viscoplastic Rheology, The Cryosphere, 14, 4427–4451,

    5. Yang, L.* and O. Francis (2019). Sea-Level Rise and Vertical Land Motion on the Islands of Oahu and Hawaii, Hawaii. Advances in Space Research, 64(11), 2221-2232,

    6. Stroh, J.N., G. Panteleev, M. Yaremchuk, O. Francis, R. Allard (2019). Toward optimization of rheology in sea ice models through data assimilation. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology,

    7. Francis, O., K. Kim, P. Pant (2019). Stakeholder assessment of coastal risks and mitigation strategies. Ocean & Coastal Management, 179,

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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,

    11. 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,

    12. Francis, O., G. 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,

    13. 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,

    14. 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,

    15. 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,

    16. 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,

    17. 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,

    18. Francis, O.P., G.G. Panteleev, and D.E. Atkinson (2011), Ocean wave conditions in the Chukchi Sea from satellite and in situ observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L24610,


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