The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (frequently abbreviated as NOAA) is an American agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that focuses on scientific and regulatory activities. The agency was established in 1970 when the U.S Coast and Geodetic Survey, Weather Bureau, and Commission of Fish and Fisheries were combined into one organization. NOAA's responsibilities range from daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration, and supporting marine commerce. The organization is based in Silver Spring, Maryland. As of 2021, Dr. Richard W. Spinrad serves as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
NOAA provides daily weather forecasts and severe storm warnings through the National Weather Service and also handles climate monitoring and fisheries management, coastal restoration, and marine commerce support. The organization's products and services support the U.S. economy significantly, affecting more than one third of America's GDP. NOAA cites scientific integrity and innovation as being of intense interest to the agency, and employs strategies in six key science and technology focus areas to guide "transformative advancements" in the organization's products and services. These six areas of concern are Uncrewed Systems; Artificial Intelligence; Cloud Computing; the use of advanced methods to analyze DNA, RNA, and proteins, called 'Omics Sciences; Data; and Citizen Science.
NOAA's roots predate the organization's official establishment in 1970. In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson founded the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (as The Survey of the Coast), an organization that provided nautical charts to ensure safe passage into American ports and along the extensive U.S. coastline. Years later, the Weather Bureau and the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries were founded in 1870 and 1871, respectively. Individually, these institutions were the U.S.'s first physical science agency, first agency devoted specifically to atmospheric sciences, and first conservation agency. NOAA in its current form was officially established within the Department of Commerce on October 3rd, 1970 by President Richard Nixon through Reorganization Plan no. 4.
NOAA proposed a budget of $6.98 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2022, a nearly $1.54 billion increase from FY2021 enacted levels. The FY22 budget increase is driven by continued efforts to research and alleviate the effects of climate change, as well as investment in fleet support and satellites. For climate crisis funding, the budget includes $855.1 million in targeted investments in the following areas:
- Research ($149.3 million increase)—NOAA plans to improve core research capabilities for stronger climate forecast products and services, as well as help prepare communities for and adjust to impacts of extreme climate and weather disasters.
- Observations and Forecasting ($368.2 million increase)—NOAA plans to expand delivery of climate observations and information to comprehend, prepare for, and adapt to future conditions and support job creation in underserved communities that are especially susceptible to the effects of climate change.
- Restoration and Resilience ($259.3 million increase)—NOAA plans to invest in ecological restoration and community resilience to climate change. This includes meeting demand for NOAA's science and services to improve natural and economic resilience in the ocean and along coasts through NOAA's direct financial support, as well as on-the-ground partnerships and and place-based conservation activities. The increase also supports President Joseph Biden's goal to conserve at least 30 percent of the U.S.'s lands and waters by 2030 through the Civilian Climate Corps.
- Offshore Wind ($20.4 million increase)—NOAA plans to further the Biden Administration's goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind in the U.S. by 2030.
- Equity ($57.9 million increase)—NOAA plans to expand integration of equity across the organization, ranging from management to policies and service delivery. The organization also plans to increase diversity and create a climate-ready workforce, as well as build upon investment in graduate and postgraduate training, fellowships and extension programs.
The FY22 budget also requests $108 million for NOAA's vessels, aircraft and satellites, as well as space weather observation and prediction services. These specific focus areas driving the increase are:
- Fleet Support ($101 million increase)—NOAA plans to invest in the U.S.'s environmental at-sea observation platforms and facilities. Specific investments include a single-phase mid-life maintenance on the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown and the construction of a marine operations facility in Charlestown, SC.
- National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) ($2.029 million) —NOAA plans to invest in the U.S.'s satellite systems to improve existing services, as well as build upon delivery of climate, weather, atmospheric and oceanographic information.
- Space Weather ($5 million increase)—NOAA plans to continue building towards a space weather prediction capability that can be used to help national and global communities be aware of and prepare for space-weather events.