What is NOAA?

Last Updated: 25.06.22


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the American scientific organization, within the U.S. Department of Commerce, whose purpose is analyzing the conditions of the ocean and the atmosphere.

NOAA warns of dangerous weather most commonly via radio alerts and charts skies and seas. The organization’s other purposes are to guide the use and protect coastal resources and the ocean, while at the same time conducting research to improve understanding of the environment.


Moreover, the National Weather Service (NWS) has the main role in identifying and providing “weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.” This is accomplished via a collection of national forecast centers, thirteen river forecast centers (RFCs) and roughly 120 local weather forecast offices (WFOs). Their duty on a daily basis is to issue weather forecasts, river forecasts, advisories and warnings. The NWS issues more than 45,000 severe weather warning per year. NOAA data is also very important for the problems with ozone depletion and global warming.

Furthermore, the NWS operates NEXRAD, a U.S. nationwide network of Doppler weather radars, which are destined to detect precipitation and its velocity. Many forecasts of this kind are broadcast on the NOAA Weather Radio. The NOAA Weather Radio is a network which functions 24 hours a day, and is destined to broadcast severe weather statements, weather forecasts and other types of watches and warnings.

The civilian employees who work for NOAA have reached a number of 12,000 as of 2012, whereas there is a number of 300 uniformed service members who represent the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. At present time, the current Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the agency’s administrator is Kathryn D. Sullivan, whose position was confirmed on March 6th, 2014. NOAA Corps is encompassed by officers who operate NOAA aircraft and ships, also serving in administrative and scientific positions.

Referring to NOAA’s purpose, the agency’s goals extend beyond U.S. borders and onto a larger global scale.

NOAA gives information to its partners concerning the states of the ocean and the atmosphere. This is manifested by issuing weather warnings and forecasts via the National Weather Service. However, NOAA’s area of expertise extends to ecosystems, climate and commerce as well.

Secondly, NOAA is the steward of U.S. marine and coastal ecosystems. Cooperating with international and federal authorities, NOAA manages the use of the above-mentioned environments by regulating marine sanctuaries and fisheries. NOAA also has a key-role in the protection of endangered marine species.

Moreover, the agency’s purpose is to provide accurate scientific information in the areas including: climate, weather, water and ecosystems, but also transportation and commerce. Therefore, NOAA has become a leader in scientific research.

Their essential activities include: the monitoring of the Earth’s systems via data collection networks; the understanding of Earth’s systems through the analysis of the mentioned data; assessing the changes that these systems might suffer in time; informing the public with important information via weather radio alerts; last but not least, managing resources for the improvement of society, economy and environment.

Last but not least, there’s also the concept of the National Ocean Service (NOS), whose purpose is to ensure that coastal and ocean regions are healthy, safe and productive. NOS employees and volunteers, embodied by scientists, specialists and national resource managers, have been serving America by ensuring efficient marine transportation, and showing interest in the issue of the protection of coastal communities. Their other roles are to conserve coastal and marine places.

Program offices and staff offices are included in the National Ocean Service.


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