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Learn more about the RESEARCH PROGRAMS...


NOAA Research Laboratories

The NOAA Research Laboratories conduct an integrated program of fundamental research, technology development, and services to improve understanding of the Earth and its oceans and inland waters, the lower and upper atmosphere, and the space environment.

The laboratories and their field stations are located across the country and around the world. The 12 laboratories have established formal collaborative agreements with universities/non-profit research institutions to form 11 Joint Research Institutes that are centers of scientific excellence pertaining to the earth's oceans, inland waters, intermountain west, atmosphere, arctic, and solar-terrestrial environment.


US map of NOAA Research Laboratory locations Research program locations   Research Laboratories location map and contact information

Aeronomy Lab scientists using equipment


Aeronomy Laboratory (AL)

Boulder, CO--

The Aeronomy Laboratory conducts fundamental research on the chemical and physical processes of the earth's atmosphere, concentrating on the lower two layers known as the troposphere and stratosphere. Through laboratory, modeling, and field research, AL scientists are advancing the scientific understanding of chemical and physical processes related to the ozone layer, the climate system, and air quality. The overall aim of Aeronomy Laboratory research is to improve the capability to observe, understand, predict, and protect the quality of the atmosphere.


radar reflectivity pattern in hurricane  

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML)
Miami, FL--

The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory conducts a basic and applied research program in oceanography, tropical meteorology, atmospheric and oceanic chemistry, and acoustics. AOML's research program seeks to understand the physical characteristics and processes of the ocean and the atmosphere, both separately and as a coupled system. Our scientists study hurricanes, ocean current and temperature structures, ocean/atmosphere chemical exchanges, and the coastal ocean by using research ships and aircraft, satellite remote sensing techniques, numerical and statistical models, radar, acoustics, and drifting buoys.


air pollution over a metropolitan area  

Air Resources Laboratory (ARL)
Silver Spring, MD--

The Air Resources Laboratory conducts research on processes that relate to air quality and climate, concentrating on the transport, dispersion, transformation, and removal of trace gases and aerosols, their climatic and ecological influences, and exchange between the atmosphere and biological and non-biological surfaces. The time frame of interest ranges from minutes and hours to that of the global climate. Research in all of these areas involves physical and numerical studies, leading to the development of air quality simulation models. ARL provides scientific and technical advice to elements of NOAA and other Government agencies on atmospheric science, environmental problems, emergency assistance, and climate change.



model of el nino

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Climate Diagnostics Center (CDC)
Boulder, CO--

The Climate Diagnostics Center advances understanding and predictions of climate variability through a vigorous research program, emphasizing state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques, directed at identifying the causes and potential predictability of important climate phenomena. Examples of phenomena that are foci for CDC research include major droughts and floods, the El Niño - Southern Oscillation and its global impacts, and decadal to centennial climate variations. CDC also performs extensive intercomparisons of observational and climate model data, an activity which is essential to improving NOAA's climate models and forecasts.


Baseline Observatory at South Pole  

Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL)
Boulder, CO--

The Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory conducts research related to atmospheric constituents that are capable of forcing change in the climate of the earth through modification of the atmospheric radiative environment, for example greenhouse gases and aerosols, and those that may cause depletion of the global ozone layer.


Catherine Russell deploys atmospheric sensors on an observation tower to study air quality in California.  

Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL)
Boulder, CO--

The Environmental Technology Laboratory performs oceanic and atmospheric research and develops innovative remote-sensing systems and techniques. We investigate all aspects of the interaction of radio, light, and sound waves with the ocean and atmosphere to probe remote regions and meet the challenges posed by weather and climate.


diagram of thunderstorm model  

Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL)
Boulder, CO--

The Forecast Systems Laboratory conducts research, and develops and transfers new technologies and scientific advancements in atmospheric and oceanic research to the operational elements of NOAA and to other domestic and foreign organizations. This involves exploratory system development to improve research, operations, and information management; application of research results toward improved data analyses and forecast systems, and improved methods for understanding atmospheric processes; system validation utilizing real-time and archived data to test and evaluate new diagnostic and forecast techniques; and transfer of new techniques and systems to operational use, through direct interaction with the users.



diagram of hurricane model

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Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL)
Princeton, NJ--

The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory conducts leading-edge research on many topics of great practical value, including weather and hurricane forecasts, El Niño prediction, stratospheric ozone depletion, and global warming. The goal of GFDL's research is to understand and predict the earth's climate and weather, including the impact of human activities.



aerial view of Great Lakes



Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL)
Ann Arbor, MI--

The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory conducts integrated, interdisciplinary environmental research in support of resource management and environmental services in coastal and estuarine waters, with a special emphasis on the Great Lakes. The laboratory performs field, analytical, and laboratory investigations to improve understanding and prediction of coastal and estuarine processes, and the interdependencies with the atmosphere, and sediments. It places special emphasis on a systems approach to problem-oriented research to develop environmental service tools.


Dimmitt, Texas tornado  

National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
Norman, OK--

The National Severe Storms Laboratory conducts research to improve accurate and timely forecasts and warnings of hazardous weather events such as blizzards, ice storms, flash floods, tornadoes, and lightning. NSSL accomplishes this goal through a balanced program of research to advance the understanding of weather processes, research to improve forecasting and warning techniques, development of operational applications, and transfer of understanding, techniques, and applications to the National Weather Service and other agencies.


buoy tending  

Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)
Seattle, WA and Newport, OR--

The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory carries out interdisciplinary scientific investigations in oceanography, marine meteorology, and related subjects. PMEL programs focus on coastal and open ocean observations and modeling to improve our understanding of the physical and geochemical processes operating in the world oceans, to define the forcing functions and the processes driving ocean circulation and the global climate system, and to improve environmental forecasting capabilities and other supporting services for marine commerce and fisheries. Results from PMEL research activities contribute to NOAA's strategic goals of implementing seasonal-to-interannual climate forecasts, assessing and predicting decadal-to-centennial climate change, advancing short-term warning and forecast services, and building sustainable fisheries.