What climate symptoms are happening today?

The scientific expertise of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) dates back to over 200 years ago during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. Combining its historical data with modern tools, NOAA has pieced together a complete picture of how the climate behaves — and how it’s changing. NOAA observations and analyses show that the climate is changing across the world, from the upper expanses of the Arctic to here in the United States. It shows strong evidence that people are changing the climate.

“Across the country, the places we live, visit and value are threatened by a changing climate.”
– National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA plays a critical role in climate and weather research, with a heavy focus on air, ocean, and weather patterns.(1),(2) Its work is key to understanding what may lie days to decades ahead.(3),(4) The National Weather Service, NOAA’s best known arm, is behind most of the daily weather forecasts you receive.(5)

Measuring a changing climate
NOAA’s toolbox of cutting-edge technologies, including unmanned drones and a fleet of ships, is now being used to study climate change. Its long-term monitoring and research capabilities allow the United States to quantify where and how Earth’s climate has changed — and how it will likely change in the future.(6),(7),(8),(9),(10),(11),(12),(13)


NOAA operates weather satellites built by NASA to study the oceans and atmosphere. They measure atmosphere and ocean temperatures, moisture profiles, clouds, snow and ice cover, and sea surface height. The satellites relay critical information about the effects of climate change on the Earth’s water cycle. They also support weather forecasting, search and rescue, forest fire detection, volcano monitoring and global irrigation analysis.(14)

Marine Fleet
NOAA operates a fleet of 19 research ships based out of Virginia, Oregon and Hawaii.(15) The fleet conducts missions of onsite research from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Ships are equipped with state of the art radar and sonar systems, ocean sampling capabilities and lots of laboratory space. NOAA vessels perform a wide range of research projects, from mapping the ocean floor to examining local fish populations. Vessel data has been used to update nautical charts, map flooding and catalog fish habitats.(16)

Buoys and Floats
NOAA deploys buoys and floats across the world’s oceans. The Argo program – a collaborative partnership of more than 30 nations – consists of 3,600 drifting floats that provide a seamless global array of data about ocean conditions.(17) These floats record temperature, salinity and currents at the surface and thousands of feet underwater. Together, they provide a complete view of the world’s oceans against which NOAA can map changes.(18)

Drones have advanced NOAA’s ability to study the climate by filling a gap between satellites and instruments on Earth’s surface. NOAA’s drones range in size from 6 to 115 feet and collect data from remote and dangerous sites, such as the poles, volcanic islands, hurricanes and wildfires. Drone data helps NOAA improve forecasts, monitor weather events, and observe hurricanes.(19)

NOAA launches 102 weather balloons every day across the US, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Radiosonde sensors aboard the balloons transmit profiles of air pressure, temperature, precipitation, wind and humidity from the Earth’s surface for 20 miles into the atmosphere. This data supports satellite research to allow NOAA to conduct large area atmosphere observations.(20)




  1. NOAA: About
  2. NOAA: Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research
  3. NOAA: State of the Climate
  4. NOAA: Climate
  5. NOAA: Weather
  6. NOAA: Climate Monitoring
  7. NOAA: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
  8. NOAA: Weather Stations
  9. NOAA: Satellites
  10. NOAA: Ships
  11. NOAA: Surface Drifting Buoys
  12. NOAA: Naval Drones
  13. NOAA: Weather Balloon Data
  14. NOAA: Satellites
  15. NOAA: Fleet
  16. NOAA: Ships
  17. UCSD: ARGO Floats
  18. NOAA: Climate Monitoring
  19. NOAA: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program
  20. NOAA: Balloons


  1. Forecasting and Emergency Alerts – NOAA: Weather
  2. National Weather Service Logo – National Weather Service
  3. Forecasts Rely on NOAA – The Weather Channel: TruPoint Technology
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