The weather in the tropics is the engine of the Earth's atmospheric circulation pattern, therefore, correctly modeling the seasonal and year-to-year variations in this region is crucial for improving predictions of weather and climate across the world. Weather and climate variability in the tropics is primarily driven by equatorial waves interacting with atmospheric convection. These “convectively coupled” equatorial waves are important not only for the tropics, but for global sub-seasonal to seasonal predictions due to tropical-to-extratropical teleconnections. However, convectively coupled equatorial waves have been a major modeling challenge from weather to climate scales because the onset and propagation of these waves depends on processes that are only partially accounted for in global weather prediction systems. In this seminar, I will give an overview of NOAA’s Unified Forecast System which hosts the fully coupled global earth system model GFSv17, slated to become operational in 2024. I will present research aimed at improving the coupling between cumulus convection and equatorial waves within the UFS, and the role of convectively coupled equatorial waves as a so-called “Rossby wave source”, impacting the weather also at the mid-latitudes. I will also talk about experiences working at NOAA, and potential collaboration opportunities between MISU and NOAA on NWP development and broader science questions.