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Learn more about the RESEARCH PROGRAMS...


NOAA Research Laboratories

The NOAA Research Laboratories conduct an integrated program of research, technology development, and services to improve the understanding of Earth's atmosphere, oceans and inland waters, and to describe and predict changes occurring to them.

The laboratories and their field stations are located across the country and around the world. The newest laboratory, the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), was formed October 1, 2005 in a reorganization and consolidation of NOAA research entities in Boulder, Colorado.

The laboratories have established formal collaborative agreements with universities/non-profit research institutions to form Joint Research Institutes that are centers of scientific excellence pertaining to the earth's oceans, inland waters, intermountain west, atmosphere, and arctic environment.


US map of NOAA Research Laboratory locations Research program locations   Research Laboratories location map and contact information

air pollution over a metropolitan area  

Air Resources Laboratory (ARL)
Silver Spring, MD--

The Air Resources Laboratory conducts research on processes that relate to air quality and climate, concentrating on the transport, dispersion, transformation, and removal of trace gases and aerosols, their climatic and ecological influences, and exchange between the atmosphere and biological and non-biological surfaces. The time frame of interest ranges from minutes and hours to that of the global climate. Research in all of these areas involves physical and numerical studies, leading to the development of air quality simulation models. ARL provides scientific and technical advice to elements of NOAA and other Government agencies on atmospheric science, environmental problems, emergency assistance, and climate change.


radar reflectivity pattern in hurricane  

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML)
Miami, FL--

The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory conducts a basic and applied research program in oceanography, tropical meteorology, atmospheric and oceanic chemistry, and acoustics. AOML's research program seeks to understand the physical characteristics and processes of the ocean and the atmosphere, both separately and as a coupled system. Our scientists study hurricanes, ocean current and temperature structures, ocean/atmosphere chemical exchanges, and the coastal ocean by using research ships and aircraft, satellite remote sensing techniques, numerical and statistical models, radar, acoustics, and drifting buoys.


diagram of thunderstorm model  

Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL)
Boulder, CO--

The new ESRL represents a strategic repositioning of NOAA's broad climate and weather capabilities into four major divisions (Global Monitoring, Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, and Global Systems) to better undertake the complex, interdisciplinary research increasingly necessary to achieve scientific and technological breakthroughs in today's modern world. Web sites for the consolidated labs will remain available until all information can be transferred to the new site. These laboratories were integrated into ESRL in the consolidation:



diagram of hurricane model

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Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL)
Princeton, NJ--

The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory conducts leading-edge research on many topics of great practical value, including weather and hurricane forecasts, El Niño prediction, stratospheric ozone depletion, and global warming. The goal of GFDL's research is to understand and predict the earth's climate and weather, including the impact of human activities.



aerial view of Great Lakes



Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL)
Ann Arbor, MI--

The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory conducts integrated, interdisciplinary environmental research in support of resource management and environmental services in coastal and estuarine waters, with a special emphasis on the Great Lakes. The laboratory performs field, analytical, and laboratory investigations to improve understanding and prediction of coastal and estuarine processes, and the interdependencies with the atmosphere, and sediments. It places special emphasis on a systems approach to problem-oriented research to develop environmental service tools.


Dimmitt, Texas tornado  

National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
Norman, OK--

The National Severe Storms Laboratory conducts research to improve accurate and timely forecasts and warnings of hazardous weather events such as blizzards, ice storms, flash floods, tornadoes, and lightning. NSSL accomplishes this goal through a balanced program of research to advance the understanding of weather processes, research to improve forecasting and warning techniques, development of operational applications, and transfer of understanding, techniques, and applications to the National Weather Service and other agencies.


buoy tending  

Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)
Seattle, WA and Newport, OR--

The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory carries out interdisciplinary scientific investigations in oceanography, marine meteorology, and related subjects. PMEL programs focus on coastal and open ocean observations and modeling to improve our understanding of the physical and geochemical processes operating in the world oceans, to define the forcing functions and the processes driving ocean circulation and the global climate system, and to improve environmental forecasting capabilities and other supporting services for marine commerce and fisheries. Results from PMEL research activities contribute to NOAA's strategic goals of implementing seasonal-to-interannual climate forecasts, assessing and predicting decadal-to-centennial climate change, advancing short-term warning and forecast services, and building sustainable fisheries.