Effective 11/23/2009 Reviewed Last: 03/18/2019



SECTION  1.  Purpose.

  1. To fulfill its mission of understanding and predicting changes in Earth’s environment and conserving and managing coastal and marine resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manages a vibrant, cutting-edge science program that focuses on research with a high relevance to society.  NOAA strives to ensure its research is communicated quickly, accurately, and effectively to interested parties and the general public through a variety of means. 
  2. To assist the general public in understanding the state of the science, NOAA shall develop, as necessary, State of the Science (SoS Fact Sheets) about key research areas of high interest to the public and/or where there may be diverse scientific views within NOAA.  Specifically, these SoS Fact Sheets will serve to:
    1. Educate the general public, focusing generally at a high-school level audience;
    2. Act as an overview primer for NOAA officials in preparation for public events;and
    3. Enhance communication among NOAA employees and promote dialogue among NOAA researchers investigating diverse hypotheses
  3. At a minimum, each SoS Fact Sheet should:
    1. Describe the general research area;
    2. Explain the implications of the research (i.e. why it is relevant to society);
    3. Indicate the diversity, if any, of NOAA viewpoints;
    4. Identify key research questions, including the areas of uncertainty and research findings to date;
    5. Describe NOAA resources and capabilities; and
    6. As necessary, contain links to NOAA resources for more detailed information.
    7. Not to exceed two pages
  4. A SoS Fact Sheet is not intended to serve as a detailed scientific assessment to support decision making and should not be confused with other NOAA fact sheets or similar communication products. 

SECTION  2.  Responsibilities.

  1. The Assistant Administrator for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, as Chair of the NOAA Research Council, shall oversee the development of the State of the Science Fact Sheets.
  2. The NOAA Research Council approves the State of the Science Fact Sheets or requests executive clearance from the NOAA Executive Panel (NEP) and NOAA Executive Council (NEC).
  3. The Director for the NOAA Office of Communications is responsible for public dissemination of State of the Science Fact Sheets.
  4. The NOAA Research council will develop procedures for management and maintenance of State of the Science Fact Sheets and distribute them as a Handbook to the Order.

SECTION  3 .  Effects on Other Issuances.

  1. This NAO replaces the NOAA Executive Panel Decision Memorandum of December 16, 2006 – NOAA Scientific Fact Sheets.
  2. This NAO is consistent with the Department of Commerce (DOC) Administrative Order for Public Communications (DAO 219-1).
  3. The Scientific Fact Sheets can be found at:

An electronic copy of this Order will be posted in place of the superseded Order on the NOAA Office of the Chief Administrator Office’s website under NOAA Administrative Issuances Section.



Under Secretary of Commerce
for Oceans and Atmosphere


Offices of Primary Interest:
NOAA Research Council