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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230


Deputy AdministratorJanet L. Coit, Acting

National Marine Fisheries ServiceJanet L. Coit
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research(vacancy)
Satellite and Information ServicesStephen M. Volz

Chief Operating OfficerBenjamin P. Friedman
Chief Scientist(vacancy)
General CounselWalker B. Smith

Chief of StaffKaren H. Hyun

Letise LaFeir
ClimateKo Barrett

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seeks to understand and predict changes in climate and weather and changes that affect coasts and oceans; shares its knowledge and information with others; and conserves and manages coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.

Establishment and Organization

On October 3, 1970, Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970 (5 U.S.C. app.) formed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA posts an organizational chart at the bottom of its "Organization" web page, in Portable Document Format (PDF), for viewing and downloading.

NOAA published its statement of functions, organization, and delegation of authority in the Federal Register on February 13, 1978 (43 FR 6128).


Science, service, and stewardship characterize NOAA's mission. Its researchers, scientists, and technicians study the atmosphere, the ocean, and the ecosystems associated with them; they integrate research and analysis; they observe and monitor; and they use modeling to predict the future state of complex systems. NOAA serves academic institutions, businesses, communities, and ordinary people by communicating and sharing its data, information, knowledge, and research. NOAA also applies its institutional know-how and science assets to the conservation and management of coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The agency regulates and sustains marine fisheries and ecosystems, protects endangered species, restores habitats and ecosystems, conserves marine sanctuaries, responds to environmental emergencies, and assists with disaster recovery.

Marine and Aviation Operations

The Office of Marine and Aviation Operations manages the aviation safety, the small boat, and the NOAA diving programs. It also operates a fleet of specialized ships and aircraft that collect data and carry out research to support NOAA's mission, the Global Earth Observation System, and the Integrated Ocean Observing System—including flying "hurricane hunter" aircraft into the most turbulent storms to collect data critical for research.

National Coastal Resources

The National Ocean Service helps balance the Nation's use of coastal resources through research, management, and policy. The Service monitors the health of U.S. coasts by examining how human use and natural events affect coastal ecosystems. Coastal communities rely on the Service for information on natural hazards so they can reduce or eliminate destructive effects of coastal hazards. The Service assesses the damage caused by hazardous material spills and tries to restore or replace the affected coastal resources. The Service also protects beaches, water quality, wetlands, and wildlife. It provides a wide range of navigational products and data that help vessels move safely through U.S. waters, and it supplies the basic information for establishing the latitude, longitude, and elevation framework necessary for the Nation's mapping, navigation, positioning, and surveying activities.

National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information

The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service operates the Nation's civilian geostationary and polar-orbiting environmental satellites. It also manages the largest collection of atmospheric, climatic, geophysical, and oceanographic data in the world. The Service develops and provides, through various media, environmental data for forecasts, national security, and weather warnings to protect life and property. These data are also used for energy distribution, global food supplies development, natural resources management, and rescuing downed pilots and mariners in distress.

National Marine Fisheries

The National Marine Fisheries Service supports the management, conservation, and sustainable development of domestic and international living marine resources and the protection and restoration of ecosystems. The Service helps assess the stock of the Nation's multi-billion-dollar marine fisheries, protect marine mammals and threatened species, conserve habitats, assist trade and industry, and conduct fishery enforcement activities.

National Weather

The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, water, and climate warnings and forecasts and data for the United States, its territories, and adjacent waters and ocean areas. Government agencies, the private sector, the general public, and the global community rely on NWS data and products to protect life and property. Working with partners in Government, academic and research institutions, and private industry, the Service responds to the needs of the American public through its products and services. NWS data and information support aviation, maritime activities, and other sectors of the economy, as well as wildfire suppression. The Service also helps national security efforts with long- and short-range forecasts, air quality and cloud dispersion forecasts, and broadcasts of warnings and critical information over the 800-station NOAA Weather Radio network.

Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research conducts research on air quality and composition, climate variability and change, weather, and coastal, marine, and Great Lakes ecosystems. The Office uses its own laboratories and offices to run research programs in atmospheric, coastal, marine, and space sciences, as well as relying on networks of university-based programs across the country.

Sources of Information

Archived Records

The "Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States" indicates that NOAA records have been assigned to record group 370.

Arctic Report Cards

Every year, NOAA publishes an Arctic Report Card as part of its efforts to track recent environmental changes relative to historical records. In December of 2021, NOAA released its most up-to-date version of the Arctic Report Card.

NOAA released a 4-minute video synopsis of the updated report card. The video's narration opens and closes with these words: "The Arctic, an ancient ecosystem, is disappearing before our eyes. . . . All these disruptions are the direct result of a climate straining under the heat-trapping burden of greenhouse gas pollution. The time to face this monumental challenge is now." The 2021 report notes the melting of frozen habitat that supports iconic animals like the polar bear and the arrival of new species like beavers, whose engineering activities create wetlands. The report also notes the nearly complete loss of old Arctic sea ice. Without the barricading presence of thick sea ice, ships and the industrial activities that they support are becoming more common in the Arctic. The effects include more garbage adrift and more pollution on shore, as well as higher levels of marine noise. Plastics and toxic chemicals are lethal threats to marine mammals such as seals, walrus, and whales. Undermining the food security of native communities, marine noise drives these magnificent mammals from their preferred habitats, which also are traditional hunting areas for indigenous hunters.

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Adding to the data record that C. David Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography started in 1958, NOAA continues to measure atmospheric carbon at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

The Earth System Research Laboratory's Global Monitoring Division has posted a 4-minute video showing 800,000 years of atmospheric carbon dioxide history.

Atmospheric Methane

The Earth System Research Laboratory's Global Monitoring Division has been measuring methane since 1983 at a globally distributed network of air sampling sites.

On April 7, 2022, the Global Monitoring Laboratory posted the news item "Increase in Atmospheric Methane Set Another Record During 2021—Carbon Dioxide Levels Also Record a Big Jump." According to the news item, "For the second year in a row, NOAA scientists observed a record annual increase in atmospheric levels of methane, a powerful, heat-trapping greenhouse gas that’s the second biggest contributor to human-caused global warming after carbon dioxide." It also addressed increases in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide: "Levels of carbon dioxide also continue to increase at historically high rates. The global surface average for carbon dioxide during 2021 was 414.7 parts per million (ppm), which is an increase of 2.66 ppm over the 2020 average. This marks the 10th consecutive year that carbon dioxide increased by more than 2 parts per million, which represents the fastest sustained rate of increase in the 63 years since monitoring began." Summing up the recent research data, NOAA Administrator Richard W. Spinrad commented: “Our data show that global emissions continue to move in the wrong direction at a rapid pace. The evidence is consistent, alarming and undeniable. We need to build a Climate Ready Nation to adapt for what’s already here and prepare for what’s to come. At the same time, we can no longer afford to delay urgent and effective action needed to address the cause of the problem—greenhouse gas pollution.'s%20preliminary%20analysis%20showed%20the,during%202020%20was%2015.3%20ppb.

Career Opportunities

A career at NOAA is a mission-oriented experience that centers on protecting natural resources, safeguarding the public, and strengthening the economy.

In 2020, NOAA ranked 111th among 411 agency subcomponents in the Partnership for Public Service's Best Places To Work Agency Rankings.

Climate Change

The Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases research area operates the global greenhouse gas reference network. Researchers measure the atmospheric distribution and trends of the main causes of climate change: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); and carbon monoxide (CO) because it is an indicator of air pollution.

"The Power of Greenhouse Gases" web page presents examples of the excess heat that the Earth system is retaining. The amount of excess heat is sufficiently large to force climate change on a regional and global scale.

Contact Information

The "Contact Us" web page has contact information and other frequently requested resources.

Federal Register

Significant documents and documents that NOAA recently published in the Federal Register are accessible online.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Any person has a right to obtain access to Federal agency records; however, some records, or portions of them, may be shielded from disclosure by one of nine FOIA exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement exclusions.

Before submitting a FOIA request, an information seeker should search the electronic reading room to determine if the desired information is in the public domain.

Maritime Archaeology

Visit the "Maritime Archaeology" web page to learn about discovering shipwrecks and safeguarding them.

Monthly Climate Report

The report of August 13, 2021, carried the headline "It's official: July was Earth's hottest month on record."

Nautical Charts

NOAA has posted the entire suite of U.S. coastal and Great Lakes charts on its "Charting" page for download.


The Global Monitoring Laboratory (GML) conducts research that addresses three important areas of concern: greenhouse gas and carbon cycle feedbacks; changes in aerosols, clouds, and surface radiation; and recovery of stratospheric ozone. The GML posts news items that cover recent developments in these areas.

NOAA Nationwide

NOAA facilities—as well as personnel and the activities and programs they manage—are located throughout the Nation in various States and Territories.


The NOAA Ocean podcast explores topics ranging from coastal science to coral reefs with ocean experts.

Sea Level Rise

In February of 2022, the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flood Hazard and Tools Interagency Task Force released its technical report "Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States." Twenty-three coauthors—experts and scientists from academic institutions and Government agencies—contributed to the report.

Social Media

NOAA relies on social media to share information and to promote understanding of its science, service, and stewardship-oriented mission.

Staff Directory

The NOAA staff directory is available online.


The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards network broadcasts continuous weather information nationwide from the nearest National Weather Service office. The network broadcasts official Weather Service forecasts, warnings, watches, and other hazard information around the clock every day.