NOAA timeline: 1990s

  • 1990
    U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City train off of the coast Atlantic City, New Jersey, during a U.S. Coast Guard Training Exercise.
    NOAA assumes operation of Cospas-Sarsat (Space-Based System for the Search of Vessels in Distress) program from the U.S. Air Force.
  • 1990
    Teacher at Sea logo
    Teacher at Sea is established by the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.
  • 1990
    The Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act is passed, mandating the establishment of a national tuna tracking program.
  • 1990
    National Meteorological Center installs a supercomputer to run more sophisticated numerical weather production models.
  • 1990
    Divers test a turtle excluder device.
    National Marine Fisheries Service's Mississippi Laboratories develop protocols and turtle excluder devices to reduce the take of endangered sea turtles in shrimp trawls.
  • 1991
    NOAA's Hazardous Materials Response Division coordinates U.S. assistance in recovering from the Persian Gulf oil spill.
  • 1991
    ASOS at the Childress Municipal Airport in Childress, Texas.
    The NWS, working with the FAA and the Department of Defense, begins to deploy the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS). ASOS is designed to serve as the nation's primary surface weather observing network. The stations take special and routine observations of sky condition, visibility, weather, pressure, temperature, dew point, wind, and precipitation totals. ASOS significantly expands information available to forecasters and the aviation community.
  • 1991
    A container ship enters the shipping channel at PortMiami.
    NOAA establishes the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System, an integrated system of oceanographic and meteorological sensors that provide mariners with accurate and reliable real-time information about environmental conditions in seaports.
  • 1992
    The Weather Service Modernization Act of 1992 modernizes the technology and operations of the National Weather Service.
  • 1992
    Doppler radars transmit pulses of radio waves to scan the atmosphere to help meteorologists detect severe weather with precision.
    The first WSR-88D Doppler radar, also known as NEXRAD ("next generation weather radar") is installed at Norman, OK. The full network installation begins in 1992 and is completed by 1997.
  • 1992
    Following repeated collapse of New England ground fishing stocks, NOAA Fisheries initiates large-scale ecosystem study of Georges Bank.
  • 1992
    The Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program is formalized through amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
  • 1992
    First Doppler Weather Radars installed at Weather Service Forecast Offices around the country. First Automated Surface Observing Systems established.
  • 1993
    Providing elevation data for St. Thomas, USVI.
    North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88) approved for geodesy.
  • 1994
    NOAA Coastal Service Center opened in Charleston, SC.
  • 1995
    Heat Safety
    A deadly heat wave in Chicago prompts the city and the Chicago NWS office to work together to establish new criteria for heat watches and warnings, and to better prepare the public and infrastructure for natural and man-made disasters.
  • 1995
    Steller sea lion pups on Gillon Point, Agattu Island, one of the locations where NOAA’s Marine Mammal Lab has remote cameras.
    Marine Mammal Protection Act re-authorization establishes Take Reduction Teams and requires marine mammal stock assessments. The first Fisheries of the United States report is published this year.
  • 1995
    Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory develops first hurricane prediction system based on a three-dimensional hurricane model.
  • 1995
    NOAA's Space Environment Center uses coronal imager LASCO in NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory spacecraft; revolutionizes operational space weather forecasting and prediction methods.
  • Meteorologist/Climatologist Tom DiLiberto presents on NOAA Science On a Sphere during NOAA Kids Day 2019.
    Alexander "Sandy" MacDonald develops a revolutionary concept for Science on a Sphere, a large visualization system that uses computers and video projectors to display animated data onto the outside of a sphere. The first permanent sphere was installed in 2004.
  • 1996
    Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act ("Sustainable Fisheries Act") provides for National Marine Fisheries Service authority and responsibility to conserve and protect fishery resources and their habitat.
  • 1996
    Sustainable Fisheries Act recognizes the importance of healthy habitat for commercial and recreational fisheries and establishes Essential Fish Habitat requirements. The Community-based Restoration Program is created to help implement coastal restoration projects.
  • 1997
    Scientists on NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown will launch weather balloons up to eight times a day in the eastern tropical Pacific to help study the current El Niño.
    NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown is commissioned.
  • 1997
    NOAA's Science Advisory Board is established.
  • 1997
    Tropical Pacific sea surface temperature patterns for March 2016, showing El Niño conditions.
    NOAA successfully forecasts world-wide impact of El Niņo.
  • 1997
    NOAA releases the first annual report on the status of U.S. Fisheries (Status of Stocks).
  • 1998
    Vessel Monitoring Systems are put in place to track commercial fishing operations.
  • 1998
    NOAA currently uses a combination of satellite imagery and water samples of the algae species Karenia brevis collected from the field by local partners, to forecast the location and intensity of red tide events. The conditions report for red tide in Florida and Texas are available to the public and gives respiratory irritation forecasts by coastal region.
    Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act passed, directing NOAA to advance scientific understanding and the ability to detect, monitor, assess, and predict HAB events.
  • 1999
    Rear Admiral Evelyn fields was the first woman and first African American to lead the NOAA Corps.
    Rear Adm. Evelyn Fields becomes the first woman and first African American to head the NOAA Corps.
  • 1999
    The Norman, OK, Weather Forecast Office issues the first Tornado Emergency, to highlight an F5-strength tornado near Oklahoma City. The wording is eventually standardized for use by the Weather Service and is reserved for rare situations where there is a severe threat to human life, and catastrophic damage is imminent or ongoing.
  • 1999
    NOAA's Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap looks at the effects of ocean noise on marine life, such as these pantropical spotted dolphins.
    The International Dolphin Conservation Program Act amended the Marine Mammal Protection Act, providing greater protections for dolphins in the east Pacific.
  • 1999
    NOAA is a major participant in the UN International Year of the Ocean.