Weather Fundamentals


What is the purpose of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that is responsible for monitoring conditions on land and in the seas that have an effect on our weather, climate, and environment. NOAA is, of course, heavily involved in atmospheric research and weather forecasting, but the agency also supports the responsible management of fisheries, is concerned with marine commerce, and is involved in studies to prevent coastal erosion, among many other projects. In essence, NOAA is interested in fostering the economic and environmental health of the country, as well as the safety of its citizens, through scientific management of oceanic, coastal, and mainland resources.

The Lansing, Michigan, office of the U.S. Weather Bureau—shown in this circa 1900 photo—was once located at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University). The Weather Bureau was the forerunner of the National Weather Service. (NOAA)

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