National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Overview
 
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), pronounced /ˈno(ʊ).ə/, like "noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce
United States Department of Commerce
The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. It was originally created as the United States Department of Commerce and Labor on February 14, 1903...

 focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

. NOAA warns of dangerous weather
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...

, 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
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

. In addition to its civilian employees, NOAA research and operations are supported by 300 uniformed service
Uniformed services of the United States
The United States has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10, and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 33 and Title 42 of the United States Code.-Uniformed services:...

 members who make up the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.
Encyclopedia
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), pronounced /ˈno(ʊ).ə/, like "noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce
United States Department of Commerce
The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. It was originally created as the United States Department of Commerce and Labor on February 14, 1903...

 focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

. NOAA warns of dangerous weather
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...

, 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
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

. In addition to its civilian employees, NOAA research and operations are supported by 300 uniformed service
Uniformed services of the United States
The United States has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10, and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 33 and Title 42 of the United States Code.-Uniformed services:...

 members who make up the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. The current Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
The Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere is the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Under Secretary oversees the day-to-day functions of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as laying out its strategic and operational...

 at the Department of Commerce, and the agency's Administrator, is Dr. Jane Lubchenco
Jane Lubchenco
Dr. Jane Lubchenco is a Ukrainian-American environmental scientist and marine ecologist. On March 19, 2009, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the first woman to serve as the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration .While performing duties as head of NOAA, Dr...

, 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
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

 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
    Climate change
    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

     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
    National Weather Service
    The National Weather Service , once known as the Weather Bureau, is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government...

    , 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.

History and organizational structure

NOAA was formed on October 3, 1970, after Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 proposed creating a new department 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 …" NOAA formed a conglomeration of three existing agencies that were among the oldest in the federal government. They were the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, formed in 1807; the Weather Bureau
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service , once known as the Weather Bureau, is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government...

, formed in 1870; and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, formed in 1871. NOAA was established within the Department of Commerce via the Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970. With its ties to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, NOAA celebrated 200 years of service in 2007.

NOAA works toward its mission through six major line offices, in addition to more than a dozen staff offices:

Line Offices
Staff Offices
  • Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology
  • Office of Marine and Aviation Operations
  • NOAA Central Library


NOAA Corps

NOAA research and operational activities are supported by a uniformed service
Uniformed services of the United States
The United States has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10, and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 33 and Title 42 of the United States Code.-Uniformed services:...

, the NOAA Corps
NOAA Corps
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps is one of seven federal uniformed services of the United States, which operates under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , a scientific agency within the Department of Commerce...

. They are a commissioned officer corps of men and women who operate NOAA ships and aircraft
NOAA ships and aircraft
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine and Aviation Operations operates a wide variety of specialized aircraft and ships to complete NOAA's environmental and scientific missions...

, and serve in scientific and administrative posts.

National Weather Service (NWS)

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, and more than 120 local weather forecast offices (WFOs). They are charged with issuing weather forecast
Weather forecasting
Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location. Human beings have attempted to predict the weather informally for millennia, and formally since the nineteenth century...

s, advisories, watches, and warnings
Severe weather terminology
Severe weather terminology is different around the world, varying between regions and countries. These are articles which explain terminology in various parts of the world.*Severe weather terminology *Severe weather terminology...

 on a daily basis. They issue more than 734,000 weather and 850,000 river forecasts, and more than 45,000 severe weather warnings
Severe weather terminology
Severe weather terminology is different around the world, varying between regions and countries. These are articles which explain terminology in various parts of the world.*Severe weather terminology *Severe weather terminology...

 annually. NOAA data is also relevant to the issues of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 and ozone depletion
Ozone depletion
Ozone depletion describes two distinct but related phenomena observed since the late 1970s: a steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of ozone in Earth's stratosphere , and a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth's polar regions. The latter phenomenon...

.
The NWS operates NEXRAD
NEXRAD
NEXRAD or Nexrad is a network of 159 high-resolution Doppler weather radars operated by the National Weather Service, an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the United States Department of Commerce...

, a nationwide network of Doppler weather radar
Weather radar
Weather radar, also called weather surveillance radar and Doppler weather radar, is a type of radar used to locate precipitation, calculate its motion, estimate its type . Modern weather radars are mostly pulse-Doppler radars, capable of detecting the motion of rain droplets in addition to the...

s which can detect precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 and their velocities. Many of their products are broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio, a network of radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 transmitter
Transmitter
In electronics and telecommunications a transmitter or radio transmitter is an electronic device which, with the aid of an antenna, produces radio waves. The transmitter itself generates a radio frequency alternating current, which is applied to the antenna. When excited by this alternating...

s that broadcasts
Broadcasting
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

 weather forecasts, severe weather statements, watches and warnings 24 hours a day.

National Ocean Service (NOS)

The National Ocean Service (NOS), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce, is focused 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 program offices, programs, and staff offices:

Program Offices

Programs
  • NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program


Staff Offices
  • International Program Office (IPO)
  • Management and Budget Office (M&B)

National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)

The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) was created by NOAA to operate and manage the United States environmental satellite programs, and manage the data gathered by the NWS and other government agencies and departments. Data collected by the NWS, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

, and meteorological services around the world, are housed at the National Climatic Data Center
National Climatic Data Center
The United States National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina is the world's largest active archive of weather data. The center became established in late 1951, with the move into the new facility occurring in early 1952....

 in Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a city in and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 11th largest city in North Carolina. The City is home to the United States National Climatic Data Center , which is the world's largest active...

. NESDIS also operates the National Geophysical Data Center
National Geophysical Data Center
The National Geophysical Data Center provides scientific stewardship, products and services for geophysical data describing the solid earth, marine, and solar-terrestrial environment, as well as earth observations from space....

 (NGDC) in Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

, the National Oceanographic Data Center
National Oceanographic Data Center
The National Oceanographic Data Center is one of the national environmental data centers operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The main NODC facility is located in Silver Spring, Maryland and is made up of five divisions...

 (NODC) in Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It had a population of 71,452 at the 2010 census, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown.The urbanized, oldest, and...

, the National Snow and Ice Data Center
National Snow and Ice Data Center
The National Snow and Ice Data Center, or NSIDC, is a United States information and referral center in support of polar and cryospheric research...

 (NSIDC) and the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) which are used internationally by environmental scientists
Environmental science
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems...

.

NESDIS also runs the:

The service operates and manages many geosynchronous satellites and polar orbiting satellites. In 1960 TIROS-1
TIROS-1
TIROS I was the first successful weather satellite, and the first of a series of Television Infrared Observation Satellites...

, NOAA's first owned and operated geostationary satellite was launched. In 1983 NOAA assumed operational responsibility for LANDSAT
Landsat program
The Landsat program is the longest running enterprise for acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. On July 26, 1972 the Earth Resources Technology Satellite was launched. This was eventually renamed to Landsat. The most recent, Landsat 7, was launched on April 15, 1999. The instruments on the...

 satellite system. In 1984 the Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere program
Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere program
The Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere program is a component of the World Climate Research Programme aimed specifically at the prediction of climate phenomena on time scales of months to years....

 (TOGA) program began.

In 1977 the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory is a laboratory in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration /Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research ....

 (PMEL) deployed the first successful moored equatorial current meter – the beginning of the Tropical Atmosphere/Ocean (TAO) array. In 1979 NOAA's first polar-orbiting environmental satellite
Polar Operational Environmental Satellites
The Polar Operational Environmental Satellite project operates a constellation of weather satellites in polar orbits around the Earth. It is a joint effort between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites...

 was launched.

Current operational satellites include: NOAA-15
NOAA-15
NOAA-15 is one of the NASA-provided TIROS series of weather forecasting satellite run by NOAA. It was launched on 13 May 1998, and is currently operational, in a sun-synchronous orbit, 807 km above the Earth, orbiting every 101 minutes...

, NOAA-16
NOAA-16
NOAA-16 is one of the NASA-provided TIROS series of weather forecasting satellite run by NOAA. It was launched on 21 September 2000, and is currently operational, in a sun-synchronous orbit, 849 km above the Earth, orbiting every 102 minutes. It hosts the AMSU, AVHRR and High Resolution...

, NOAA-17
NOAA-17
NOAA-17 is a weather forecasting satellite run by NOAA. It was launched on 24 June 2002, and is currently operational, in a sun-synchronous orbit, 824 km above the Earth, orbiting every 101 minutes. It hosts the AMSU, AVHRR and High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder instruments.APT...

, NOAA-18
NOAA-18
NOAA-18 is a weather forecasting satellite run by NOAA. NOAA-N was launched on May 20, 2005, into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 854 km above the Earth, with an orbital period of 102 minutes. It hosts the AMSU-A, MHS, AVHRR and High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder instruments, as...

 and NOAA-19
NOAA-19
NOAA-19, designated NOAA-N prior to launch, is the last of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's POES series of weather satellites...

 (launched 2/6/2009).

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

Fisheries, which was initiated in 1871 to protect, study, manage and restore fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

. The NMFS has a marine fisheries
Fishery
Generally, a fishery is an entity engaged in raising or harvesting fish which is determined by some authority to be a fishery. According to the FAO, a fishery is typically defined in terms of the "people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats,...

 research lab in Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Woods Hole is a census-designated place in the town of Falmouth in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States. It lies at the extreme southwest corner of Cape Cod, near Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands...

 and is home to one of NOAA's five fisheries science centers.

Its law enforcement agency is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement is a federal police part of the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland...

 based in Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It had a population of 71,452 at the 2010 census, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown.The urbanized, oldest, and...

.

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)

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
Atmospheric dispersion modeling
Atmospheric dispersion modeling is the mathematical simulation of how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere. It is performed with computer programs that solve the mathematical equations and algorithms which simulate the pollutant dispersion...

, 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 7 internal research laboratories, extramural research at 30 Sea Grant
Sea grant colleges
The National Sea Grant College Program is a program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce...

 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.

The Air Resources Laboratory
Air Resources Laboratory
The Air Resources Laboratory is an air quality and climate laboratory in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research which is an operating unit within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the UNited States...

 (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
Atmospheric dispersion modeling
Atmospheric dispersion modeling is the mathematical simulation of how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere. It is performed with computer programs that solve the mathematical equations and algorithms which simulate the pollutant 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 pollution dispersion terminology
Air pollution dispersion terminology includes the words and technical terms that have a special meaning to those who work in the field of air pollution dispersion modeling...

, air quality, atmospheric deposition, and related variables.

National Geodetic Survey

The National Geodetic Survey is the primary surveying
Surveying
See Also: Public Land Survey SystemSurveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them...

 organization in the United States.

National Integrated Drought Information System

NOAA is the lead federal agency for the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).

Program Planning and Integration (PPI)

The Office of Program Planning and Integration was established in June 2002 as the focus for a new corporate management culture at NOAA. PPI was created to address the needs to:
  • Foster strategic management among NOAA Line and Staff Offices, Goal Teams, Programs, and Councils,
  • Support planning activities through greater opportunities for active participation of employees, stakeholders, and partners,
  • Build decision support systems based on the goals and outcomes set in NOAA's strategic plan, and
  • Guide managers and employees on program and performance management, the National Environmental Policy Act
    National Environmental Policy Act
    The National Environmental Policy Act is a United States environmental law that established a U.S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment and also established the President's Council on Environmental Quality ....

    , and socioeconomic analysis.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Since 2001 the organization has hosted the senior staff and recent chair, Susan Solomon
Susan Solomon
Susan Solomon is an atmospheric chemist working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Solomon was one of the first to propose chlorofluorocarbons as the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole.Solomon is a member of the U.S...

, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

's working group on climate science.

Flag

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 Surveys 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
Triangulation
In trigonometry and geometry, triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly...

 in surveying
Surveying
See Also: Public Land Survey SystemSurveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them...

, 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
Ship commissioning
Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service, and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to the placing of a warship in active duty with its country's military...

 display the NOAA flag; those with only one mast
Mast (sailing)
The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall, vertical, or near vertical, spar, or arrangement of spars, which supports the sails. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship...

 fly it immediately beneath the ship's commissioning pennant or the personal flag of a civilian official or flag officer
Flag Officer
A flag officer is a commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark where the officer exercises command. The term usually refers to the senior officers in an English-speaking nation's navy, specifically those who hold any of the admiral ranks; in...

 if one is aboard the ship, while multimasted vessels fly it at the masthead of the forwardmost mast. NOAA ships fly the same ensign
Ensign
An ensign is a national flag when used at sea, in vexillology, or a distinguishing token, emblem, or badge, such as a symbol of office in heraldry...

 as United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

ships but fly the NOAA flag as a distinguishing mark to differentiate themselves from Navy ships.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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