National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, /ˈnoʊ.ə/ like Noah) is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere.

NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, and conducts research to provide understanding and improve stewardship of the environment.

NOAA was officially formed in 1970[5] and in 2017 had over 11,000 civilian employees.[3] Its research and operations are further supported by 321 uniformed service members who make up the NOAA Commissioned Corps.[6]

Since October 2017, NOAA has been headed by Timothy Gallaudet, as acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA interim administrator.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA logo
Logo of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Flag of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Agency overview
FormedFebruary 10, 1807
October 3, 1970
Preceding agency
  • United States Survey of the Coast
JurisdictionUS Federal Government
HeadquartersSilver Spring, Maryland, US
38°59′32.1″N 77°01′50.3″W / 38.992250°N 77.030639°W
Annual budgetUS$5.6 billion (est. 2011)
Agency executive
Parent agencyUS Department of Commerce

Purpose and function

NOAA WP-3D Orions
Two NOAA WP-3D Orions

NOAA plays several specific roles in society, the benefits of which extend beyond the US economy and into the larger global community:

  • A Supplier of Environmental Information Products. NOAA supplies to its customers and partners information pertaining to the state of the oceans and the atmosphere. This is clear through the production of weather warnings and forecasts via the National Weather Service, but NOAA's information products extend to climate, ecosystems and commerce as well.
  • A Provider of Environmental Stewardship Services. NOAA is a steward of U.S. coastal and marine environments. In coordination with federal, state, local, tribal and international authorities, NOAA manages the use of these environments, regulating fisheries and marine sanctuaries as well as protecting threatened and endangered marine species.
  • A Leader in Applied Scientific Research. NOAA is intended to be a source of accurate and objective scientific information in the four particular areas of national and global importance identified above: ecosystems, climate, weather and water, and commerce and transportation.[7]

The five "fundamental activities" are:

  • Monitoring and observing Earth systems with instruments and data collection networks.
  • Understanding and describing Earth systems through research and analysis of that data.
  • Assessing and predicting the changes of these systems over time.
  • Engaging, advising, and informing the public and partner organizations with important information.
  • Managing resources for the betterment of society, economy and environment.[8]


NOAA traces its history back to multiple agencies,[9] some of which were among the oldest in the federal government:[10]

Another direct predecessor of NOAA was the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA), into which several existing scientific agencies such as the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Weather Bureau and the uniformed Corps were absorbed in 1965.[11]

NOAA was established within the Department of Commerce via the Reorganization Plan No. 4[12] and formed on October 3, 1970 after U.S. President Richard Nixon proposed creating a new agency to serve a national need for "better protection of life and property from natural hazards …for a better understanding of the total environment…[and] for exploration and development leading to the intelligent use of our marine resources."

In 2007, NOAA celebrated 200 years of service in its role as successor to the United States Survey of the Coast.[13] In 2013, NOAA closed 600 weather stations.[14]

Organizational structure

2016-05-09 17 23 45 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration headquarters at the intersection of Colesville Road (Maryland State Route 384) and East-West Highway (Maryland State Route 410) in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland
NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland

NOAA Administrator

Since October 25, 2017 Timothy Gallaudet, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, has served as acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the US Department of Commerce and NOAA's interim administrator.

Gallaudet succeeded Benjamin Friedman, who served as NOAA's interim administrator since the end of the Obama Administration on January 20, 2017.[15] In October 2017, Barry Lee Myers, CEO of AccuWeather, was proposed to be the agency's administrator by the Trump Administration.[16]

NOAA Services

NOAA works toward its mission through six major line offices, the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the National Ocean Service (NOS), the National Weather Service (NWS), the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and the Office of Marine & Aviation Operations (OMAO).[17] and in addition more than a dozen staff offices, including the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology, the NOAA Central Library, the Office of Program Planning and Integration (PPI).[17]

National Weather Service

Seal of the National Weather Service

The National Weather Service (NWS) is tasked with 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 done through a collection of national and regional centers, 13 river forecast centers (RFCs), and more than 120 local weather forecast offices (WFOs). They are charged with issuing weather and river forecasts, advisories, watches, and warnings on a daily basis. They issue more than 734,000 weather and 850,000 river forecasts, and more than 45,000 severe weather warnings annually. NOAA data is also relevant to the issues of global warming and ozone depletion.

The NWS operates NEXRAD, a nationwide network of Doppler weather radars which can detect precipitation and their velocities. Many of their products are broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio, a network of radio transmitters that broadcasts weather forecasts, severe weather statements, watches and warnings 24 hours a day.[18]

National Ocean Service

The National Ocean Service (NOS) focuses on ensuring that ocean and coastal areas are safe, healthy, and productive. NOS scientists, natural resource managers, and specialists serve America by ensuring safe and efficient marine transportation, promoting innovative solutions to protect coastal communities, and conserving marine and coastal places.

The National Ocean Service is composed of eight program offices: the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services,[19] the Coastal Services Center,[20] the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science,[21] the Office of Coast Survey,[22] the Office of National Geodetic Survey,[23] the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries[24] the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management[25] and the Office of Response and Restoration.[26]

There are two NOS programs, namely the Mussel Watch Contaminant Monitoring Program and the NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and two staff offices, the International Program Office and the Management and Budget Office.

National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service

NOAA engineer at work

The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) was created by NOAA to operate and manage the US environmental satellite programs, and manage NWS data and those of other government agencies and departments. NESDIS's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) archives data collected by the NOAA, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration, and meteorological services around the world and comprises the Center for Weather and Climate (previously NOAA's National Climatic Data Center) and the Center for Coasts, Oceans, and Geophysics (created by a merger of NOAA's National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) and the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC)).

In 1960 TIROS-1, NOAA's first owned and operated geostationary satellite was launched. Since 1966 NESDIS has managed polar orbiting satellites (POES) and since 1974 it has operated geosynchronous satellites (GOES) . In 1979 NOAA's first polar-orbiting environmental satellite was launched. Current operational satellites include NOAA-15, NOAA-18, NOAA-19, GOES 13, GOES 14, GOES 15, Jason-2 and DSCOVR. In 1983, NOAA assumed operational responsibility for Landsat satellite system.[27] Since May 1998, NESIDS has operated the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites on behalf of the Air Force Weather Agency.[28]

New generations of satellites are developed to succeed the current polar orbiting and geosynchronous satellites, the Joint Polar Satellite System) and GOES-R, which is scheduled for launch in March 2017.[29]

NESDIS runs the Office of Projects, Planning, and Analysis (OPPA)] formerly the Office of Systems Development,[30] the Office of Satellite Ground Systems (formerly the Office of Satellite Operations)[31] the Office of Satellite and Project Operations,[32] the Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR)],[33] the Joint Polar Satellite System Program Office[34] the GOES-R Program Office, the International & Interagency Affairs Office, the Office of Space Commercialization[35] and the Office of System Architecture and Advanced Planning.

National Marine Fisheries Service

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), also known as NOAA Fisheries, was initiated in 1871 with a primary goal of the research, protection, management, and restoration of commercial and recreational fisheries and their habitat, and protected species. NMFS operates twelve headquarters offices, five regional offices, six fisheries science centers, and more than 20 laboratories throughout the United States and U.S. territories, which are the sites of research and management of marine resources. NMFS also operates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is the primary site of marine resource law enforcement.

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

NOAA's research, conducted through the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), is the driving force behind NOAA environmental products and services that protect life and property and promote economic growth. Research, conducted in OAR laboratories and by extramural programs, focuses on enhancing our understanding of environmental phenomena such as tornadoes, hurricanes, climate variability, solar flares, changes in the ozone, air pollution transport and dispersion,[36][37] El Niño/La Niña events, fisheries productivity, ocean currents, deep sea thermal vents, and coastal ecosystem health. NOAA research also develops innovative technologies and observing systems.

The NOAA Research network consists of seven internal research laboratories, extramural research at 30 Sea Grant university and research programs, six undersea research centers, a research grants program through the Climate Program Office, and 13 cooperative institutes with academia. Through NOAA and its academic partners, thousands of scientists, engineers, technicians, and graduate students participate in furthering our knowledge of natural phenomena that affect the lives of us all.[38]

The Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) is one of the laboratories in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. It studies processes and develops models relating to climate and air quality, including the transport, dispersion, transformation and removal of pollutants from the ambient atmosphere. The emphasis of the ARL's work is on data interpretation, technology development and transfer. The specific goal of ARL research is to improve and eventually to institutionalize prediction of trends, dispersion of air pollutant plumes, air quality, atmospheric deposition, and related variables.[39]

The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), is part of NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, located in Miami, Florida. AOML's research spans hurricanes, coastal ecosystems, oceans and human health, climate studies, global carbon systems, and ocean observations. AOML's organizational structure consists of an Office of the Director and three scientific research divisions (Physical Oceanography, Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems, and Hurricane Research). The Office of the Director oversees the Laboratory's scientific programs, as well as its financial, administrative, computer, outreach/education, and facility management services. Research programs are augmented by the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), a joint enterprise with the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. CIMAS enables AOML and university scientists to collaborate on research areas of mutual interest and facilitates the participation of students and visiting scientists. AOML is a member of a unique community of marine research and educational institutions located on Virginia Key in Miami, Florida.

In 1977 the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) deployed the first successful moored equatorial current meter – the beginning of the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean, TAO, array. In 1984 the Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere program (TOGA) program began.

Office of Marine and Aviation Operations

The Office of Marine and Aviation Operations is responsible for the fleet of NOAA ships, aircraft, and diving operations. It has the largest research fleet of the Federal government. Its personnel is made up of civilians and the NOAA Commissioned Corps.[40] The office is headed by a NOAA Corps two-star rear admiral, who also commands the Corps.[41]

National Geodetic Survey

The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is the primary surveying organization in the United States.

National Integrated Drought Information System

The National Integrated Drought Information System is a program within NOAA with an interagency mandate to coordinate and integrate drought research, building upon existing federal, tribal, state, and local partnerships in support of creating a national drought early warning information system.[42]

NOAA Commissioned Corps

NOAA Commissioned Corps
Seal of the NOAA Commissioned Corps

The NOAA Commissioned Corps is a uniformed service of men and women who operate NOAA ships and aircraft, and serve in scientific and administrative posts.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Since 2001, the organization has hosted the senior staff and recent chair, Susan Solomon, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's working group on climate science.[43]


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration flag, flown as a distinguishing mark by all commissioned NOAA ships.

The NOAA flag is a modification of the flag of one of its predecessor organizations, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. The Coast and Geodetic Survey's flag, authorized in 1899 and in use until 1970, was blue, with a white circle centered in it and a red triangle centered within the circle. It symbolized the use of triangulation in surveying, and was flown by ships of the Survey.

When NOAA was established in 1970 and the Coast and Geodetic Survey's assets became a part of NOAA, NOAA based its own flag on that of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The NOAA flag is in essence the Coast and Geodetic Survey flag, with the NOAA logo—a circle divided by the silhouette of a seabird into an upper dark blue and a lower light blue section, but with the "NOAA" legend omitted—centered within the red triangle. NOAA ships in commission display the NOAA flag; those with only one mast fly it immediately beneath the ship's commissioning pennant or the personal flag of a civilian official or flag officer if one is aboard the ship, while multimasted vessels fly it at the masthead of the forwardmost mast.[44] NOAA ships fly the same ensign as United States Navy ships but fly the NOAA flag as a distinguishing mark to differentiate themselves from Navy ships.

See also


  1. ^ Celebrating 200 Years NOAA website, 2007.
  2. ^ "About Our Agency | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  3. ^ a b " Agency Report". Best Places to Work. Retrieved 1 Jul 2014.
  4. ^ "Organizational Structure | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration". 5 March 2018. Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Our history | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration". Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  6. ^ "About | Office of Marine and Aviation Operations". Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  7. ^ "About the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)". Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  8. ^ "New Priorities for the 21st Century NOAA STRATEGIC PLAN FY 2005 – FY 2010" (PDF). U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Program Planning and Integration, NOAA Strategic Planning. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Our history | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration". Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  10. ^ "Reorganization Plan 4 - 197 - NOAA Central Library". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  11. ^ "Reorganization Plan 4 - 197 - NOAA Central Library". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  12. ^ "Reorganization Plan 4 - 197 - NOAA Central Library". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  13. ^ Shea, Eileen. "A History of NOAA". Department of Commerce Historical Council. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  14. ^ Lott, Maxim (13 August 2013). "Distorted data? Feds close 600 weather stations amid criticism they're situated to report warming". Fox News. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Benjamin Friedman | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration". Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  16. ^ "Trump administration nominates AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers to head NOAA - Geospatial World". Geospatial World. 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  17. ^ a b "Organization | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration". 2016-03-30. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  18. ^ Service, US Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather. "NOAA Weather Radio". Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  19. ^ "NOAA Tides & Currents". Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  20. ^ NOAA Office for Coastal Management ADS Group. "NOAA Office for Coastal Management". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  21. ^ "Home - NOAA Tides & Currents". 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  22. ^ "Nautical Charts & Pubs". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  23. ^ "National Geodetic Survey - Home". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  24. ^ "NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 27, 2006. Retrieved October 25, 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "Our role is stewardship; our product is science". 1989-03-24. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  27. ^ "Landsat Data Data Sheet". 1997.
  28. ^ "Department of Commerce". Retrieved 2017-05-28.
  29. ^ "NASA Successfully Launches NOAA Advanced Geostationary Weather Satellite". November 19, 2016.
  30. ^ "NOAA/NESDIS Office of Systems Development Homepage". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 28, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ "NOAA Star : Center for Satellite Applications and Research". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ Office of Space Commerce. "Office of Space Commerce | Helping U.S. businesses use the unique medium of space to benefit our economy". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  36. ^ Turner, D.B. (1994). Workbook of atmospheric dispersion estimates: an introduction to dispersion modeling (2nd ed.). CRC Press. ISBN 1-56670-023-X. Archived 2007-11-05 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ Beychok, M.R. (2005). Fundamentals Of Stack Gas Dispersion (4th ed.). author-published. ISBN 0-9644588-0-2.
  38. ^ "NOAA News Online (Story 235)". Retrieved 2017-05-28.
  39. ^ Pan, Jock (2010). The United States Outer Executive Departments and Independent Establishments & Government Corporations. Xlibris. ISBN 1450086748.
  40. ^ "About OMAO - Office of Marine and Aviation Operations". Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  41. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2017-04-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  42. ^ "What is NIDIS? | U.S Drought Portal". Retrieved 2017-05-28.
  43. ^ Pearce, Fred, The Climate Files: The Battle for the Truth about Global Warming, (2010) Guardian Books, ISBN 978-0-85265-229-9, p. XVIII.
  44. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 24, 2008. Retrieved January 10, 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

1985 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1985 Atlantic hurricane season had 6 U.S. landfalling hurricanes, which was the highest number in 99 years. The season officially began on June 1 and lasted until November 30. It was an average season, with 11 named storms developing. This was partially attributed to a La Niña – a meteorological phenomenon that produces favorable conditions across the Atlantic basin, such as lower wind shear and higher sea surface temperatures. The first storm, Ana, developed on July 15 near Bermuda and caused minor effects in Canada while transitioning into an extratropical cyclone. Three other tropical cyclones – Claudette, Henri, and Isabel – did not significantly affect land. Claudette developed offshore of the Southeastern United States and brushed Bermuda and the Azores. Henri and Isabel were dissipating as they approached land. However, the precursor of the latter caused a severe flood in Puerto Rico that killed 180 people. Additionally, Tropical Storm Fabian and three tropical depressions did not have any known impact on land.

Although several storms caused minimal effects, several tropical cyclones also left extensive impact. Hurricane Gloria, the strongest storm of the season, resulted in 14 fatalities and about $900 million (1985 USD) in damage in North Carolina, Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic, and New England. Hurricane Elena threatened the central Gulf Coast of the United States, then abruptly re-curved toward Florida. Unexpectedly, Elena doubled-back and struck Mississippi, resulting in two mass evacuations. The storm caused $1.3 billion in losses, with most of the damage in Louisiana and Mississippi. Similarly, Hurricane Juan caused $1.5 billion in damage due to its erratic track offshore and across Louisiana. Three other tropical cyclones – Hurricanes Bob, Danny, and Kate – caused moderate to extensive damage in Cuba and the United States. Overall, the tropical cyclones of this season collectively caused over $4.52 billion in damage and 60 deaths.

1995 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1995 Atlantic hurricane season was a hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season that is generally considered to be the start of an ongoing era of high-activity tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic basin. It is tied with 1887, 2010, 2011, and 2012 for having the third most number of named storms. The season produced twenty-one tropical cyclones, nineteen named storms, as well as eleven hurricanes and five major hurricanes. The season officially began on June 1 and ended on November 30, dates which conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones develop in the Atlantic basin. The first tropical cyclone, Hurricane Allison, developed on June 2, while the season's final storm, Hurricane Tanya, transitioned into an extratropical cyclone on November 1.

There were four particularly destructive hurricanes during the season, including Luis, Marilyn, Opal and Roxanne. Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn both caused catastrophic damage in the Leeward Islands and Virgin Islands. The former storm was the first hurricane to affect those regions since Hurricane Hugo, while the latter was the most devastating cyclone on those islands since Hugo in 1989. Opal, the strongest and most intense storm of the season, caused devastation along portions of the Gulf Coast of the United States. Roxanne, a rare late-season major hurricane, caused significant damage when it made landfall in Quintana Roo. Additionally, Erin produced moderate damage in Florida. Felix generated strong waves, causing heavy beach erosion in the Northeastern United States and drowning nine people. Iris caused flooding that left five deaths in the Lesser Antilles. Collectively, the tropical cyclones of the season caused about $12.32 billion (1995 USD) in damage and at least 182 deaths.

2011 Super Outbreak

The 2011 Super Outbreak was the largest, costliest and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks ever recorded, taking place along the Southern, Midwestern, and Northeastern United States and leaving catastrophic destruction in its wake. The event not only affected Alabama and Mississippi the most severely, but also produced destructive tornadoes in Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, and affected many other areas throughout the Southern and Eastern United States. In total, 360 tornadoes were confirmed by NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) and Government of Canada's Environment Canada in 21 states from Texas to New York to southern Canada. Widespread and destructive tornadoes occurred on each day of the outbreak, with April 27 being the most active day with a record of 216 tornadoes touching down that day from midnight to midnight CDT (0500 – 0500 UTC). Four of the tornadoes were destructive enough to be rated EF5, which is the highest ranking possible on the Enhanced Fujita scale; typically these tornadoes are only recorded about once each year or less.In total, 348 people were killed as a result of the outbreak, which includes 324 tornado-related deaths across six states and an additional 24 fatalities caused by other thunderstorm-related events such as straight-line winds, hail, flash flooding or lightning. In Alabama alone, 238 tornado-related deaths were confirmed by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the state's Emergency Management Agency.April 27's 317 fatalities were the most tornado-related fatalities in the United States in a single day since the "Tri-State" outbreak on March 18, 1925 (when at least 747 people were killed). Nearly 500 preliminary local storm reports were received for tornadoes over four days, including 292 in 16 states on April 27 alone. This event was the costliest tornado outbreak and one of the costliest natural disasters in United States history (even after adjustments for inflation), with total damages of approximately $11 billion (2011 USD).

Captain (United States O-6)

In the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps), captain is the senior-most commissioned officer rank below that of flag officer (i.e., admirals). The equivalent rank is colonel in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

Reflecting its nautical heritage, the term "captain" also sometimes is used as a military title by more junior officers who are serving as the commanding officer (CO) of a commissioned vessel of the Navy, Coast Guard, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship of patrol boat size or greater, while officers below O-6 commanding aviation squadrons (typically O-5 commanders) will usually use the less formal title of "skipper". (see rank vs. title)


GOES-U is the fourth and last of the next generation of weather satellites to be operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), giving sequence to the GOES system. The next satellites of the series (GOES-16, GOES-17, T, and U) will extend the availability of the GOES satellite system until 2036. The satellite will be built by Lockheed Martin, it will be based on the A2100 platform and will an expected useful life of 15 years (10 operational after five years in orbit replacement).


GOES 15, previously known as GOES-P, is an American weather satellite, which forms part of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system operated by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The spacecraft was constructed by Boeing, and is the last of three GOES satellites to be based on the BSS-601 bus. It was launched in 2010, while the other BSS-601 GOES satellites -- GOES 13 and GOES 14 -- were launched in May 2006 and June 2009 respectively. It was the sixteenth GOES satellite to be launched.

Hurricane Hector (2018)

Hurricane Hector was a powerful and long-lived tropical cyclone that was the first to traverse all three North Pacific basins since Genevieve in 2014. The eighth named storm, fourth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 2018 Pacific hurricane season, Hector originated from an area of low pressure that formed a couple hundred miles west-southwest of Mexico on July 28. Amid favorable weather conditions, a tropical depression formed a few days later on July 31. The depression continued strengthening and became Tropical Storm Hector on the next day. Hector became a hurricane on August 2, and rapidly intensified into a strong Category 2 hurricane later in the day. After weakening while undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle, Hector quickly strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane late on August 5. Over the next week, Hector fluctuated in intensity multiple times due to eyewall replacement cycles and shifting wind shear. Hector achieved its peak intensity on August 6, as a high-end Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph (250 km/h). On the following day, the hurricane bypassed Hawaii approximately 200 mi (320 km) to the south. Increasing wind shear resulted in steady weakening of the storm, beginning on August 11. At that time, Hector accumulated the longest continuous stretch of time as a major hurricane in the northeastern Pacific since reliable records began. Eroding convection and dissipation of its eye marked its degradation to a tropical storm on August 13. The storm subsequently traversed the International Dateline that day. Hector later weakened into a tropical depression on August 15, before dissipating late on August 16.

Hector prompted several islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to issue tropical storm watches after the close pass by in Hawaii that warranted the issuance of a tropical storm warning for Hawaii County. Despite Hector having passed a couple hundred miles to the south of Hawaii, it still brought numerous adverse weather effects to Hawaii County and the surrounding islands.

Meteorological history of Hurricane Dean

The meteorological history of Hurricane Dean began in the second week of August 2007 when a vigorous tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa into the North Atlantic ocean. Although the wave initially experienced strong easterly wind shear, it quickly moved into an environment better suited for tropical development and gained organization. On the morning of August 13, the National Hurricane Center recognized the system's organization and designated it Tropical Depression Four while it was still more than 1,500 mi (2,400 km) east of the Lesser Antilles.

A deep layered ridge to its north steered the system west as it moved rapidly towards the Caribbean and into warmer waters. On August 14 the depression gained strength and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Dean. By August 16, the storm had intensified further and attained hurricane status. Hurricane Dean continued to intensify as it tracked westward through the Lesser Antilles. Once in the Caribbean Sea, the storm rapidly intensified to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Weakening slightly, it brushed the southern coast of Jamaica on August 19 as a Category 4 hurricane and continued towards the Yucatán Peninsula through even warmer waters. The favorable conditions of the western Caribbean Sea allowed the storm to intensify and it regained Category 5 status the next day before making landfall in southern Quintana Roo.

Hurricane Dean was one of two storms in the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season to make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane and was the seventh most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, tied with Camille and Mitch. After its first landfall, Hurricane Dean crossed the Yucatán Peninsula and emerged, weakened, into the Bay of Campeche. It briefly restrengthened in the warm waters of the bay before making a second landfall in Veracruz. Dean progressed to the northwest, weakening into a remnant low which finally dissipated over the southwestern United States.

NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, known informally as the NOAA Corps, is one of seven federal uniformed services of the United States, and operates under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a scientific agency overseen by the Department of Commerce. The NOAA Corps is made up of scientifically and technically trained officers and is the smallest of the U.S. uniformed services. It is one of only two––the other being the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps––that consists only of commissioned officers, with no enlisted or warrant officer ranks.

The NOAA Corps was established in 1970, though its origins in its predecessor organizations date back to 22 May 1917. It is the successor to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps (1917–1965) and the United States Environmental Science Services Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (ESSA Corps) (1965–1970).

National Hurricane Center

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is the division of the United States' National Weather Service responsible for tracking and predicting tropical weather systems between the Prime Meridian and the 140th meridian west poleward to the 30th parallel north in the northeast Pacific Ocean and the 31st parallel north in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The agency, which is co-located with the Miami branch of the National Weather Service, is situated on the campus of Florida International University in University Park, Florida.The NHC's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) routinely issues marine forecasts, in the form of graphics and high seas forecasts year round, with the Ocean Prediction Center having backup responsibility for this unit. The Technology and Science Branch (TSB) provides technical support for the center, which includes new infusions of technology from abroad. The Chief, Aerial Reconnaissance Coordination, All Hurricanes (CARCAH) unit tasks planes, for research and operational purposes, to tropical cyclones during the Atlantic hurricane season and significant weather events, including snow storms, during winter and spring. Research to improve operational forecasts is done through the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP) and Joint Hurricane Test Bed (JHT) initiatives.

During the Atlantic and northeast Pacific hurricane seasons, the Hurricane Specialists Unit (HSU) issues routine tropical weather outlooks for the northeast Pacific and northern Atlantic oceans. When tropical storm or hurricane conditions are expected within 48 hours, the center issues watches and warnings via the news media and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio.

Although the NHC is an agency of the United States, the World Meteorological Organization has designated it as the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for the North Atlantic and eastern Pacific, making it the clearinghouse for tropical cyclone forecasts and observations occurring in these areas. If the NHC loses power or becomes incapacitated, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center backs tropical cyclone advisories and tropical weather outlooks for the northeast Pacific Ocean while the Weather Prediction Center backs up tropical cyclone advisories and tropical weather outlooks for the North Atlantic Ocean.

National Ice Center

The National Ice Center (NIC) is a tri-agency operational center whose mission is to provide worldwide navigational ice analyses for the armed forces of the United States, allied nations, and U.S. government agencies.

It is represented by the United States Navy (Department of Defense); the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Department of Commerce); and the United States Coast Guard (Department of Homeland Security). The National Ice Center is a subordinate command of the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO). Originally known as the Navy/NOAA Joint Ice Center, which was established on December 15, 1976 in a memorandum of agreement between the U.S. Navy and NOAA, the National Ice Center was formed in 1995 when the U.S. Coast Guard became a partner. The National Ice Center produces global sea ice charts and various cryospheric GIS products. They also name and track Antarctic icebergs if greater than 10 nautical miles (20 km) on its longest axis.

Icebergs must be a minimum of 19 kilometers in length to be tracked by the NIC.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement (NOAA OLE) is a federal police part of the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. The leadership consists of Director Bruce Buckson, Deputy Director Matthew Brandt, Assistant Director Todd Dubois, and Assistant Director John Longenecker.

It was established in 1930 as Division of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish Commission and Bureau . It is responsible for the ecosystem protection and conservation of most of national marine life. It is the only federal agency for such. As of 2011, it has more than 200 employees.

NOAA OLE is divided into six divisional offices (Northeast, Southeast, Alaska, Northwest, Southwest and Pacific Islands), led by a Special Agent in Charge, and 52 field offices, e.g., Pago Pago, American Samoa; Ellsworth, Maine; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

National Sea Grant College Program

The National Sea Grant College Program is a program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is a national network of 33 Sea Grant Colleges and universities involved in scientific research, education, training, and extension projects geared toward the conservation and practical use of the coasts, Great Lakes, and other marine areas. The program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is based in Silver Spring, Maryland. No sea rights have actually been granted (though this was considered), only money.

There are 33 programs consisting of many more member institutions, called Sea Grant colleges, many but not all of which are located along the coast. The program was instituted in 1966 when Congress passed the National Sea Grant College Program Act.

Sea Grant colleges are not to be confused with land-grant colleges (a program instituted in 1862), space-grant colleges (instituted in 1988), or sun-grant colleges (instituted in 2003), although an institution may also be in one or more of the other programs concurrently with being a Sea Grant institution.

Northern Gulf Institute

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Cooperative Institute started in October 2006. It is one of 16 NOAA Cooperative Institutes (CIs). The NGI is a partnership of five academic institutions and NOAA. The collaboration led by Mississippi State University (MSU), includes the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), Louisiana State University (LSU), Florida State University (FSU), and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL). The NGI defines the Northern Gulf of Mexico region as the upland, watershed, coastal zone, and coastal ocean areas from the Sabine River in Louisiana east to the Suwannee River in Florida.

October 2013 North American storm complex

The October 2013 North American storm complex was a blizzard and tornado outbreak that affected the Northwest, Rockies, and much of the Midwest. 22 tornadoes were confirmed as the system moved eastward across the eastern half of the United States, including two that were rated as EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale.

Rear admiral (United States)

Rear admiral in the United States refers to two different ranks of commissioned officers — one-star flag officers and two-star flag officers. By contrast, in most nations, the term "rear admiral" refers to an officer of two-star rank.

Severe weather terminology (United States)

This article describes severe weather terminology used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in the United States. The NWS, a government agency operating as an arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the United States Department of Commerce (DoC), defines precise meanings for nearly all of its weather terms. This article describes NWS terminology and related weather scales used by the agency. Some terms may be specific to certain cities or regions.

United States National Marine Sanctuary

A U.S. National Marine Sanctuary is a zone within United States waters, where the marine environment enjoys special protection. The program began in 1972 in response to public concern about the plight of marine ecosystems.

Western Regional Climate Center

The Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC) is a climate research center serving the Western United States. The WRCC is one of six regional centers administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Centers for Environmental Information, and partners with the Nevada-based Desert Research Institute.The WRCC was established in 1986 and is based in Reno, Nevada.

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