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NOAA Research — Leaders in Science

The Office of 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 organizational units of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research 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.

The primary components of NOAA Research are:

CRAIG MCLEAN

Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

Craig McLean is the Assistant Administrator for NOAA’s Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) office. He is responsible for overseeing, directing and implementing NOAA’s research enterprise including a network of research laboratories and the execution of NOAA programs including the Climate Program, National Sea Grant, Ocean Exploration, to name a few. Among a number of formal international engagements in science and technology, Mr. McLean serves as the U.S. Representative to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and as the Co-chair of the U.S. European Union Marine Working Group.

KO BARRETT

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Programs & Administration

Ms. Ko Barrett is serving as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Programs and Administration for NOAA’s Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. She comes to this position from seven years of serving as Deputy Director of OAR’s Climate Program Office (CPO), which oversees and coordinates climate activities across NOAA addressing climate observations and monitoring, research and modeling, and the development and delivery of climate services.

DR. GARY MATLOCK

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science

Dr. Gary Matlock is serving as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science for NOAA’s Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. He also is the Director of the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) He has served in that capacity since January 2011 and is responsible for guiding and evaluation NOAA’s research and development portfolio. Prior to arriving at OAR, he spent 18 years working in three other NOAA Line Offices directing ecological and fisheries related research and overseeing the agency’s national and international fisheries management programs.

 

What We Do

NOAA and the nation depend on the cutting-edge science provided by its research programs. Recently, NOAA Research built much of the foundation for the modernization of the National Weather Service. The research programs provide the science necessary to help NOAA achieve its goals to:

  • serve society’s needs for weather and water information;
  • lead the effort to understand and monitor climate variability and change to enhance society’s ability to plan and respond;
  • work to protect, restore and manage the use of coastal and ocean resources through ecosystem-based management; and
  • support the Nation’s commerce with information for safe, efficient and environmentally sound transportation.

Working under the broad themes of Climate, Weather and Air Quality, and Ocean and Coastal Resources, NOAA scientists study the ocean’s depths and the highest reaches of space to better understand our environment. NOAA’s long-term commitment to the highest quality research includes engaging in-house and extramural talent to:

  • continue to conduct experiments to understand natural processes (physical, geochemical, ecological);
  • build predictive models for use in weather, air quality, climate, solar, ocean, emergency management, and coastal assessments and predictions;
  • develop and deploy new observing technologies to provide data to support predictive models and to document natural variability;
  • develop new analytical and forecast tools to improve weather services;
  • use new information technology to share information with other federal and academic scientists; and
  • prepare scientific assessments and information products to enhance public education and guide governmental action.

Research plans and products are developed in partnership with academia and other federal agencies, and are peer-reviewed and widely distributed. A high premium is placed on external collaboration both domestically and internationally. In addition, personnel management practices of hiring, promotion, and awards are based on demonstrable capability through internal and external peer assessment. Peer review, collaboration, and partnerships ensure that NOAA’s research is of the highest quality and remains focused on critical issues.

How the Nation and the World Benefit

Most of the environmental questions our nation and the world face are not easily answered. A strong NOAA is necessary to tackle the complex issues that only advanced scientific knowledge is able to adequately address. NOAA Research answers the call and:

  • provides comprehensive knowledge to guide national environmental policy decisions, including better predictions of the climate response to emissions changes, choices for protection of the ozone layer, and alternatives for developing coastal communities;
  • improves environmental services to the nation, including reliable predictions and assessments; and
  • promotes economic growth through science for decision-making, new technology, and partnerships with academia and industry;

NOAA is a world leader in environmental science today and is well positioned and organized to provide the sound scientific research policy-makers will always need.

Strategic Planning

OAR is in the final stages of updating its Strategic Plan, which will better align our planning activities with the Goals and Objectives outlined in NOAA's Next Generation Strategic Plan. The new strategic plan will guide our future research and resource decisions to foster an innovative and integrated research enterprise dedicated to advancing our understanding of the oceans and atmosphere. We will post the final document on this page when complete.

In addition, the NOAA Research Council is working to develop the next NOAA 5-Year Research and Development Plan for FY13-17. As with the OAR Strategic Plan, this 5-year plan will be closely tied to NOAA's Strategic Plan, describing how we will integrate our research and development activities across each of NOAA's Line Offices in support of NOAA's service and stewardship mission. You can provide input and follow the development of this plan on the NOAA Research Council website.

NOAA Research Organization

Oar Headquarters

Phone: 301-713-2458
Address: 1315 East-West Highway Silver Spring, MD 20910

Stay Connected

About Us

The Office of 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 organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research 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.

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