Today marks the 50th birthday of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, better known as NOAA. NOAA was formally established decades earlier, having roots with the Survey of the Coast in 1807 and the Weather Bureau and U.S. Fish Commission in the 1870s.
From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.
NOAA’s work is focused on 9 specific areas: weather, climate, oceans/coasts, fisheries, satellites, research, charting, marine and aviation, and the fostering of sanctuaries. These 9 service areas are managed by more than 12,000 NOAA personnel around the world. NOAA is home to more than 6,700 scientists and engineers who represent some of the brightest and sharpest minds in their fields of study.
“Over the past five decades, NOAA has grown into a premier science agency essential to our Nation,” said Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator. “We are proud of that legacy and of the people who champion it every day. Our skilled and diverse workforce and partnerships make NOAA a strong and unique agency, and they have set the stage for continued innovation and discovery for decades to come.”
“Our nation’s oldest science agencies came together, as one, with a vision to protect and enrich life by better understanding our ocean and atmosphere,” said Cheryl Oliver, director of the NOAA Heritage program, which honors the legacy of NOAA through special events and exhibits across the country. “Today, people depend on NOAA science and services every day, in our homes, on the coasts we love, in our daily commerce, in the seafood we eat and in our personal safety.”
President Richard Nixon established NOAA as a new organization within the Department of Commerce. Nixon and his administration were pioneers in earth science and environmental protection. Beyond creating NOAA, Nixon also signed the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act into law. Just weeks after NOAA was formed, Nixon also created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).As a result of the reorganization, the Weather Bureau was officially renamed as the National Weather Service. At 6am today 50 years ago, the National Weather Service issued its first forecasts and reports under the new name.