NOAA Research provides the research foundation for understanding our planet and technological innovation and scientific advances that improve our lives.

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About NOAA Research

NOAA’s Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) or "NOAA Research" provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other parts of NOAA, OAR enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.

421 parts per million

The global average atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration set another record high when it peaked in May 2022 at 421 parts per million. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, CO2 levels were consistently around 280 ppm for almost 6,000 years of human civilization. Carbon dioxide levels today are now comparable to four million years ago, when temperatures averaged seven degrees Fahrenheit hotter and sea levels were significantly higher.

2 million

The number of square kilometers mapped by the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer — an area more than one quarter the size of the contiguous United States. The Okeanos Explorer is the first and only U.S. federal vessel dedicated to ocean exploration. Despite the essential role that the ocean plays in supporting our well being, 95 percent remains unexplored.

$520 million

In 2020, a federal investment in Sea Grant of $87 million resulted in $519.5 million in economic benefit. The Sea Grant network includes 34 programs at top universities in every U.S. coastal and Great Lakes state and territory. NOAA Sea Grant works to create and maintain healthy and resilient coastal communities, ecosystems and economies through university-based research and constituent engagement.


The number of flights completed in 2021 by NOAA uncrewed aircraft systems. These drones gather scientific data on hurricanes, fish and mammal populations, flooding damage and much more. They are uniquely able to go places humans can’t and can collect high-quality data in ways that are easier and less expensive.

2.5 million

The approximate number of ocean measurement gathered by Argo floats by year end 2018. In 1999, NOAA and partner organizations established the Argo Program, a global network of autonomous floats that gather data on ocean temperature and salt content. The ~4,000-float Argo Program has revolutionized scientists’ ability to track how the ocean is changing.


The number of NOAA Cooperative Institutes (CIs). Partnerships CIs, which are located at degree-granting institutions, play a vital role in increasing NOAA’s research capacity and expertise. CIs support NOAA's mission and educate the next generation of the nation’s scientific workforce to prepare NOAA for the future.



The number of countries that publicly display NOAA's scientific visualizations on Science On a Sphere (SOS). NOAA developed SOS as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth system science to people of all ages. Download the free mobile app version of SOS to start learning today: