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Volunteer opportunities

Observe your world with us. Be a citizen scientist for NOAA.

 

In July 2007, NOAA partnered with Washington Sea Grant and the University of Washington Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Oceans to host the fifth annual NOAA Science Camp in Seattle.  During the week-long camp, 53 middle-school-aged campers worked on a hypothetical fish kill in the Puget Sound and learned about NOAA science through hands-on activities.  At the end of the week, the campers applied the knowledge they had learned during the activities to investigate the cause and impacts of the fish kill, and presented their conclusions to the scientists, families and friends. 

Joining the WSG camp staff were scientists from NOAA Fisheries Service, NOAA Ocean Service, National Weather Service, NOAA Research, NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, and JISAO. 

Left to right: Curran Fey and Dr. Nick Bond from JISAO show campers a TAO buoy used to collect oceanographic data. Photo by Megan Burbank, WSG Staff Photographer.
(NOAA WSG)

Help NOAA predict, observe and protect our changing planet by making your own contributions toward a greater understanding of our Earth and its diverse systems. Whether it’s helping count whales in Hawaii or reporting on weather right outside your window, we’ve got a volunteer opportunity for you!

See these links below to our most popular citizen scientist programs or search this siteoffsite link (select NOAA under "Agency Sponsor") to find both national and local NOAA volunteer opportunities.

 

Weather

Trained storm spotters and long-term observers support NOAA’s mission of climate monitoring and protecting life and property through accurate weather and water forecasts and warnings.

  • SKYWARN® Storm Spotter: Help keep your community safe by volunteering to become a trained severe storm spotter for NOAA's National Weather Service. There is even an easy-to-use online community reporting tool, NWS StormReporter, which promotes the rapid delivery of coastal storm damage information to emergency management personnel and others across New England.
  • Daily Weather Observer: Join a national network of Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) volunteers who record and report weather and climate observations to the National Weather Service on a daily basis over the phone or Internet. The National Weather Service provides training, equipment, and additional support through equipment maintenance and site visits. Not only does the data support daily weather forecasts and warnings, but they also contributed toward building the nation’s historic climate record.
  • Citizen Weather Observer Program Participant: Ham radio operators and other private citizens around the country can volunteer the use of their weather data for education, research, and use by interested parties as part of the Citizen Weather Observers Program. 
  • Precipitation Reporter: If you like to track rain, hail and snow, you may want to join the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), a nationwide community-based network of volunteers who measure and help map precipitation. NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory has a similar program, the Precipitation Identification Near the Ground project (PING), where you can report on the type of — but do not need to measure  precipitation you are encountering at any given time or location. PING volunteers can spend a little or a lot of time making and recording ground truth observations using the PING project website or mobile phone app. 
  • Ship Weather Observer: Crew members aboard ships report weather conditions over the open sea to NOAA's National Weather Service as part of the United States Voluntary Observing Ship Program.

NOAA also needs your help in analyzing historic weather and other environmental data:

  • CycloneCenter.org: Climate scientists need your help classifying more than 30 years of tropical cyclone satellite images taken from the archives of NCDC’s Hurricane Satellite Data system. The existing global intensity record contains uncertainties caused by differences in analysis procedures around the world and through time. Scientists need help because patterns in storm imagery are best recognized by the human eye. After many people review the same image online, scientists will use their feedback to come up with a new global tropical cyclone dataset that will provide 3-hourly tropical cyclone intensity estimates, confidence intervals, and a wealth of other metadata that could not be realistically obtained in any other fashion.
  • Old Weather Arctic Project: Since 2010, NOAA, National Archives and Records Administration, and other partners have been seeking volunteers to transcribe a newly digitized set of ship logs containing weather, sea ice and other environmental observations dating back to 1850 and the World War II era. The project will improve understanding of our global climate and appeal to a wide array of scientists from other fields – historians, genealogists, as well as current members and veterans of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.

Fisheries

Engage in NOAA’s management of living marine resources through conservation and the promotion of healthy ecosystems.

Oceans

Delve into the nation’s sanctuaries and estuaries to support NOAA’s pursuit to observe, understand, and manage our nation's coastal and marine resources. 

Research

  • Sea Grant Participant:  Administered through NOAA, this program engages the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training, and extension projects within coastal communities. By participating in the program, you can help promote a better understanding, conservation and use of America’s coastal resources.