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Learn more about these WEATHER RESEARCH areas...

Weather and Air Quality Research

People have been observing the weather for thousands of years. Yet little was understood about the complex atmospheric phenomena that create weather until fairly recently. Every day, NOAA scientists and their research partners are expanding the atmospheric body of knowledge, shedding new light on the processes that contribute to the world's weather and developing new tools for predicting it. No one can prevent the weather, but greater understanding of it can help save lives and property throughout the world.

NOAA Research organizations conduct basic and applied research on the upper and lower atmosphere as well as the space environment. Their findings form the basis for NOAA's contributions to major national and international environmental programs and agreements. For instance, the recent National Weather Service modernization is making use of NOAA research as evidenced by improvements in numerical modeling, information received from satellites and Doppler weather radars (NEXRAD) and sophisticated weather warning and display systems, all leading to improved severe weather forecasts and warnings.

Other research programs focus on observation and study of the chemical and physical processes of the atmosphere, detecting the effects of pollution on those processes and monitoring and forecasting the phenomena affecting the Sun-Earth environment.

Defying Mark Twain's statement that everyone complains about the weather but no one does anything about it, NOAA scientists are revolutionizing our understanding of the restless ocean of air surrounding our planet.


A supercell thunderstorm

"The world is an ever-changing picture of naturally occurring events. From drought and famine to devastating floods, some of the greatest challenges we face come in the form of natural disasters created by weather. Yet, dealing with weather and climate is an inevitable part of our lives. Sometimes it is as small as deciding what to wear for the day or how to plan for a vacation. But it can also have life-shattering consequences, as witnessed by those who are victim to a hurricane or tornado."