Located in Miami, Florida, AOML's research spans hurricanes, coastal ecosystems, oceans and human health, climate studies, global carbon systems, and ocean observations. AOML began as one of the original ESSA Research Laboratories at its founding in 1967, when it was named the Atlantic Oceanographic Laboratories. Today, AOML includes three research divisions: the Hurricane Research Division (HRD), the Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division (OCED), and the Physical Oceanography Division (PHOD).
The main thrust of this laboratory's research was aircraft traveling into hurricanes to make direct observations of storm activity; for a number of years in the sixties and seventies, weather modification also formed part of NHRL's portfolio. Congressionally authorized in 1955 as the National Hurricane Research Project (NHRP), the National Hurricane Research Laboratory was renamed in 1964. It was subject to several more reorganizations and was renamed the National Hurricane and Experimental Meteorology Laboratory (NHEML) from 1974 to 1982, when its designation reverted back to NHRL once again. In 1983, it was joined to AOML and became known as the Hurricane Research Division (HRD).
The Marine EcoSystems Analysis Program has been described as a multidisciplinary field research program led by the Environmental Research Laboratories. Its scope included studies of oceanography, meteorology, marine chemistry, pollutants, and zoology within the geographic regions of the New York Bight, and the Straight of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound in Washington.