National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(1970, Washington, 12,000 staff/6,800 scientists;

Mission: “To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts; to share that knowledge and information with others; to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.”

Focus areas:

  1. The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas
  2. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) provides comprehensive oceanic, atmospheric, and geophysical data
  3. National Ocean Service addresses oceanic and coastal transportation and commerce, coastal preparedness, recreation, stewardship and tourism
  4. Fisheries tracks 479 stocks or stock complexes managed by 46 fishery management plans.
  5. The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service operates a fleet of environmental satellites
  6. Among other functions, the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research integrates the efforts of 16 degree granting institutions to educate scientists
  7. The Office of Marine and Aviation Operations maintains a small fleet of ships and planes in support of fisheries research, nautical charting, and ocean and climate studies.
  8. The NOAA National Spatial Reference System is the official U.S. government source for precise latitude, longitude, and elevation measurements
  9. The Coastal Zone Management, the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Coral Reef Conservation Program protects vulnerable places and species


  • Educational and news resources
  • A vast library of resources, publications, and data on climate and weather
    • The monthly State of the Climate reports with a global and national edition that compares temperatures for different regions with global and regional averages, and points out anomalies and trends.
    • Arctic Report Card 2019 (Dec 2019, 100p, 3p exec summary)  Published annually since 2006, these essays involve 81 scientists from 12 countries reporting on the acceleration of ice melting in a region where temperature changes are twice as high as elsewhere.  Topics include rising air temperature, melting of the Greenland ice sheet, terrestrial snow cover, the rising threat of marine microplastics (higher than all other ocean basins in the world), the increase in river discharge, harmful toxic algal blooms, and how Arctic warming affects the jet stream by allowing cold Arctic air to move south.

Leadership: Dr. Neil Jacobs (Asst. Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction)
Budget: $5.54bn (2019)

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