As defined by Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), pronounced /ˈno(ʊ).ə/, like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere.
NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas and skies, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, and conducts research to improve understanding and stewardship of the environment. In addition to its civilian employees, NOAA research and operations are supported by 300 uniformed service members who make up the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.
The current Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the Department of Commerce, and the agency's Administrator, is Dr. Jane Lubchenco, nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate on March 19, 2009.
Vision, Mission, and Goals
NOAA's strategic vision is "an informed society that uses a comprehensive understanding of the role of the oceans, coasts, and atmosphere in the global ecosystem to make the best social and economic decisions."
The agency's mission is "to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our nation's economic, social, and environmental needs."
In support of its vision and mission, NOAA has four goals to guide its suite of operations. Each goal corresponds to activities focusing on ecosystems, climate, weather and water, and commerce and transportation. Specifically, NOAA operates to:
Ensure the sustainable use of resources and balance competing uses of coastal and marine ecosystems, recognizing both their human and natural components.
Understand changes in climate, including global climate change and the El Niño phenomenon, to ensure that Americans can plan and respond properly.
Provide data and forecasts for weather and water cycle events, including storms, droughts, and floods.
Provide weather, climate, and ecosystem information to make sure individual and commercial transportation is safe, efficient, and environmentally sound.
Purpose and function
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 information to its customers and partners pertaining to the state of the oceans and the atmosphere. This is clearly manifest in the production of weather warnings and forecasts through 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 also the 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.
Recognizing that it is essential that we understand the challenges that we face as part of the Earth system in order to create appropriate solutions, NOAA conducts an end-to-end sequence of activities, beginning with scientific discovery and resulting in a number of critical environmental services and products. 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.