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.

412 parts per million

The global average atmospheric carbon dioxide in 2020 was 412.5 parts per million (ppm), setting a new record high amount despite the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carbon dioxide levels today are higher than at any point in at least the past 800,000 years, and today’s rise in CO2 levels is dominated by human activities.

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.

$624 million

In 2018, a federal investment in Sea Grant of $76.5 million resulted in $624 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.


Then number of flights completed in 2019 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 where you can find NOAA's stunning, global data display, Science On a Sphere® (SOS). Researchers at 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, called SOS Explorer, at to start learning today.