Our mission and vision

Science, service and stewardship

NOAA's Mission: science, service and stewardship

1. To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, ocean and coasts;

2. To share that knowledge and information with others; and

3. To conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.


To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, the ocean and coasts

Science at NOAA is the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the ocean, atmosphere, and related ecosystems; integration of research and analysis; observations and monitoring; and environmental modeling. NOAA science includes discoveries and ever new understanding of the ocean and atmosphere, and the application of this understanding to such issues as the causes and consequences of climate change, the physical dynamics of high-impact weather events, the dynamics of complex ecosystems and biodiversity and the ability to model and predict the future states of these systems. Science provides the foundation and future promise of the service and stewardship elements of NOAA’s mission.

To share that knowledge and information with others

Service is the communication of NOAA’s research, data, information and knowledge for use by the Nation’s businesses, communities and people’s daily lives. NOAA services include climate predictions and projections; weather and water reports, forecasts and warnings; nautical charts and navigational information; and the continuous delivery of a range of Earth observations and scientific data sets for use by public, private and academic sectors.

To conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources

Stewardship is NOAA’s direct use of its knowledge to protect people and the environment, as the Agency exercises its direct authority to regulate and sustain marine fisheries and their ecosystems, protect endangered marine and anadromous species, protect and restore habitats and ecosystems, conserve marine sanctuaries and other protected places, respond to environmental emergencies and aid in disaster recovery. The foundation of NOAA’s long-standing record of scientific, technical and organizational excellence is its people. NOAA’s diverse functions require an equally diverse set of skills and constantly evolving abilities in its workforce.

Also underlying NOAA’s continued success is its unique infrastructure. NOAA’s core mission functions require satellite systems, ships, buoys, aircraft, research facilities, high-performance computing and information management and distribution systems. The agency provides research-to-application capabilities that can recognize and apply significant new understanding to questions, develop research products and methods and apply emerging science and technology to user needs. NOAA invests in and depends heavily on the science, management and engagement capabilities of its partners. Collectively, NOAA’s organizational enterprise-wide capabilities — its people, infrastructure, research and partnerships — are essential for NOAA to achieve its vision, mission and long-term goals.


NOAA's Vision of the Future

1. Resilient Ecosystems, Communities, and Economies; and

2. Healthy ecosystems, communities and economies that are resilient in the face of change.

Earth’s ecosystems support people, communities and economies. Our own human health, prosperity and well-being depend upon the health and resilience of natural and social ecosystems. Managing this interdependence requires timely and usable scientific information to make decisions. Human well-being requires preparing for and responding to changes within these natural systems. NOAA’s mission of science, service and stewardship is directed to a vision of the future where societies and their ecosystems are healthy and resilient in the face of sudden or prolonged change.

A vision of resilience will guide NOAA and its partners in a collective effort to reduce the vulnerability of communities and ecological systems in the short-term, while helping society avoid or adapt to potential long-term environmental, social and economic changes. To achieve this vision we must understand current Earth system conditions, project future changes and help people make informed decisions that reduce their vulnerability to environmental hazards and stresses that emerge over time, while at the same time increase their ability to cope with them. Resilient human communities and economies maintain or improve their health and vitality over time by anticipating, absorbing, diffusing and adapting to change. Resilient communities and institutions derive goods from ecosystems in a way that does not compromise ecosystem integrity, yet is economically feasible and socially just for future generations.

Climate, weather, and water affect all life on our ocean planet. NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict our changing environment, from the deep sea to outer space, and to manage and conserve America’s coastal and marine resources. See how NOAA science, services, and stewardship benefit your community: Browse noaa.gov for our latest news and features, and join us on Twitter at @NOAA.