What We Do
NOAA's Office of Weather and Air Quality, located in Silver Spring, Maryland, enables improvements in weather and air chemistry forecast information and products by funding, facilitating, and coordinating research that is intended for transition into National Weather Service (NWS) operations and applications. OWAQ manages the NOAA U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP) and funds collaborative research between NOAA scientists, federal and state partners, and academia. OWAQ also manages the NOAA Earth System Prediction Capability (ESPC), which enables improved global environmental prediction.
OWAQ's support of NOAA's Joint Hurricane Testbed helped create new tools for National Hurricane Center Forecasters. Peer-reviewed competitive research efforts in the last 10 years have been implemented into hurricane forecast operations, with additional ongoing research. This research, involving federal and academic partners, has led to improvements in NOAA's forecasts of hurricane surface winds and storm track, which are crucial for helping emergency managers and citizens plan for destructive wind and storm surge impacts when a hurricane hits the coast.
OWAQ supports extreme precipitation research that focuses on understanding the physical processes associated with extreme precipitation and developing new decision support tools to help forecast these events at NWS forecast offices and national centers. This research also benefits state water resource managers who rely on accurate precipitation forecasts.
NOAA investments lead to improved understanding of how the public responds to weather warnings, which leads to more effective warnings. OWAQ supports competitively selected social science research that links academic social scientists with federal physical scientists. These partnerships enable NOAA to test research results quickly in an operational setting to improve communication during dangerous weather situations to motivate the appropriate response to safeguard lives and property.
OWAQ supports research on key atmospheric processes contributing to the creation and transport of atmospheric aerosols that can affect human health and transportation. OWAQ-supported research has led to advancements in modeling the creation and movement of these particles throughout the atmosphere. This research also has applicability to the production of timely and accurate smoke and volcanic ash guidance so people can act to limit the adverse effects on human, surface transportation and aviation.
For further information, please see the OWAQ Fact Sheet.