Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

NWS Publications: Home

The National Weather Service traces its beginnings to 1870 when the Army Signal Corps was created as the first national weather observation service. 1891 saw the advent of the Weather Bureau, which became NWS when NOAA was established in 1970. NWS has evolved alongside the science of meteorology, and helped to spur innovation through the application of new numerical forecast techniques, development of advanced computer systems, and implementation of cutting-edge radar technology. Its modern-day mission is to provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy. NWS produces precise near-and-mid-term forecasts, while also providing long-term  climate predictions. Its offices are organized both by geographic location and functional area.

 

About this guide: Publications from both contemporary and historic offices are included in this guide. Where possible, links are provided to the series through NOAA's Institutional Repository. However, in some cases and particularly for ESSA series, materials are only available in the library's catalog. Additionally, while many publications have already been digitized in PDF format, others must be obtained in print.

NWS-Level Publications

NWSIn the past, NWS has published editions of the NOAA Atlas series, focused on subjects such as precipitation frequency, tropical sea surface temperature, and interseason and interannual variability. The ESSA-era Weather Bureau published a series of line office-level technical reports between 1967 and 1970. These reports were written by subsidiary offices and labs but covered research and analysis in an area of general interest.

Historical Publications

Alaska Region (AR)

ARThe year 1929 marked the opening of the first Weather Bureau office in Alaska, sited in Anchorage. The Weather Bureau Regional Office in Anchorage would go on to become the Alaska Region Office, and then later NWS Alaska Region. This regional office is unique because it provides forecast and observation focused on only one state.

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Central Region (CR)

CRThe first Signal Service office in Kansas City, Missouri was created in 1888. This locale would grow to become a hub of Weather Bureau and NWS activity in the twentieth century, as the National Severe Storms Forecast Center was also based in the area. Today, NCEP's Aviation Weather Center is colocated with Central Region Headquarters.

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Climate Prediction Center (CPC)

CPCThis climate forecasting branch of NWS delivers real-time products and information that predict and describe climate variations on timescales from weeks to years. Part of CPC's mission is also to promote effective management of climate risk and a climate-resilient society. CPC was established in the 1980s under the name of the Climate Analysis Center, and is well known for its El Niño and La Niña predictions.

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Eastern Region (ER)

ERThe NWS Eastern Region, headquartered in Bohemia, New York, manages all operational and scientific meteorological, hydrologic, and oceanographic programs of the region including observing networks, weather services, forecasting, and climatology and hydrology.

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Meteorological Development Laboratory (MDL)

MDLThe Meteorological Development Laboratory first came about in 1964, when it was known as the Techniques Development Laboratory (TDL). MDL is an applied research and development laboratory that seeks to improve diagnostic and prognostic weather information, data depiction and utilization, warning and forecast product preparation, and data and forecast evaluation. Methods used include modern physical, dynamical, and statistical techniques implemented on operational computers.

Current Publications

Predecessor Organization


TDLThe mission of the Techniques Development Laboratory was very similar to MDL, translating advances in basic research to real-world applications in meteorology, to increase utility both for the scientist and the ultimate end-user. TDL sought to improve prediction methodology through diagnostic and prognostic methods, and in its era studied new statistical and modeling techniques, climatology, objective analysis, and the use of computers and automation in forecasting. TDL was one of three laboratories within the Systems Development Office, alongside the Integrated Systems Laboratory (ISL) and Equipment Development Laboratory (EDL).

Historical Publications

National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)

NCEPThe National Centers for Environmental Prediction is responsible for delivering national and global weather, water, climate and space weather guidance, forecasts, warnings and analyses to its partners and users through nine centers covering aviation weather, climate prediction, environmental modeling, hurricanes, ocean prediction, storm prediction, and space weather prediction.

Current Publications

Predecessor Organization


NMCThe National Meteorological Center (NMC), the direct precursor to NCEP, was formed in 1958 before being reorganized as NCEP in 1995. NMC began providing weather forecasting for the Northern Hemisphere before expanding to the entire globe, and conducted research to improve the accuracy of forecasts, to provide information in the most useful form, and to present data as automatically as practicable.

Historical Publications

National Hurricane Center (NHC)

NHCThe National Hurricane Center exists to save lives, mitigate property loss, and improve economic efficiency by issuing the best watches, warnings, forecasts, and analyses of hazardous tropical weather and by increasing understanding of these hazards. National hurricane forecasting began in 1943, and NHC was established shortly thereafter, in 1958.

Current Publications

Predecessor Organization


TPCThe Tropical Prediction Center was formerly a component of NCEP in which NHC was nested. TPC no longer exists, and NHC is now a component center of NCEP. TPC had the same mission as NHC, and included two other subsidiary organizations, the Technical Support Branch (TSB), and the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB). At the time of TPC, NHC's purview was seasonal, maintaining a watch on tropical cyclones from 15 May in the eastern Pacific and 1 June in the Atlantic through November 30. During the off season, NHC conducted an extensive outreach and education program, training U.S. emergency managers and representatives from many other countries affected by tropical cyclones.

Historical Publications

Pacific Region (PR)

PRThe Pacific Region is responsible for a smaller amount of land relative to the other regions, but it is dispersed among multiple islands that are spread across the vast geographic area of the vast Pacific Ocean. In addition to weather forecasting and data collection, the Pacific Region also provides tsunami bulletins from its Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Southern Region (SR)

SRNWS's Southern Region covers states that receive 90% of landfalling hurricanes and 50% of the hurricane, flash flood, and tornado events in the US. It provides meteorology, hydrology, and climatology for a quarter of the mainland United States and areas of the Atlantic, Gulf, and Caribbean coasts.

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Storm Prediction Center (SPC)

SPCNOAA's Storm Prediction Center, an NCEP organization, provides timely and accurate watch and forecast products/information dealing with tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, lightning, wildfires, and winter weather. SPC employees conduct applied research into the science of severe and dangerous weather

Historical Publications

Predecessor Organization


NSSFCThe National Severe Storms Forecast Center changed its name to the Storm Prediction Center in 1997 in a reorganization designed to collocate storm research with operations. Historically, NSSFC had the responsibility for issuing tornado and severe thunderstorm watches (in the case of large hailstones and high winds) for the contiguous 48 states.

Historical Publications

Western Region (WR)

WRThe Signal Service began establishing offices in Western states in the 1870s. While California, Nevada, and Oregon achieved statehood in the 1850s and 1860s, shortly before the offices were set up, Arizona was granted statehood in 1912, meaning that national weather observations began while it was still only a territory. Today, in addition to the general functions of a weather bureau regional office, the Western Region also encompasses fire weather and tsunami program areas.

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Data Acquisition Division (DATAC)

Historical Organization


DATACThe former Data Acquisition Division of ESSA oversaw all surface, upper air, radar, and satellite observation networks for the collection of meteorological and hydrologic operations. DATAC published the RADAR Technical Note series to publicize research into applications of radar for weather observations. Today, NWS' Office of Observations carries out similar duties.

Historical Publications

Engineering Division (ENG)

Historical Organization


ENGIn the era of ESSA, the Engineering Division had a large portfolio that included engineering aspects of procurement and specifications, contract monitoring, technician training, test and inspection, equipment reconditioning, installation and maintenance standards and procedures, and field modification of all operational data acquisition, data processing, communications, and display equipment and instruments for the Weather Bureau

Historical Publications

Equipment Development Laboratory (EDL)

Historical Organization


EDLThe Equipment Development Laboratory (EDL) of the Systems Development Office was responsible for the design and development of new equipment through applied research and exploratory development to determine the feasibility of new concepts. Activities included providing equipment trade-off information for systems analysis, research in the area of special sensors unique to the needs of the Weather Bureau, and design, development, and fabrication of engineering and prototype equipment.

Historical Publications

Ocean Services Division (OSD)

Historical Organization


OSDIn its day, the Ocean Services Division of the Office of Meteorology and Oceanography was responsible for planning, developing, and managing oceanographic and marine weather service programs, including forecasts and warnings. Publications in the OSD Technical Memorandum Series pertained to forecasting weather, waves and surges, ice conditions, sea surface temperatures, currents, and other marine weather and oceanographic parameters.

Historical Publications

Space Environment Center (SEC)

Historical Organization


SECNOAA's space weather forecasting program came about in 1965, with ESSA's Space Disturbances Laboratory, one of the original ESSA Research Laboratories founded in 1965. By 1970, it had been rechristened the Space Environment Laboratory, then, in 1995, the Space Environment Center. Finally, in 2005, the organization received its current name, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). Although SWPC does not currently issue NOAA series, its historical forebears SDL, SEL, and SEC reported widely on geomagnetism, solar wind, and radiation.

Historical Publications

Space Operations Support Division (SOS)

Historical Organization


SOSThe Space Operations Support Division of the Office of Meteorological Operations conducted studies to answer specific meteorological and related questions in support of space and missile range projects. It is our understanding that responsibility for these services may have been reassigned within the Forecast Services Division. Topics included probability and analysis of hurricanes and other storms in proximity to the Kennedy Spaceflight Center in Florida.

Historical Publications

System Plans and Design Division (SPDD)

Historical Organization


SPDDThe defunct ESSA System Plans and Design Division of the Office of Systems Development used systems analysis methods and techniques to develop plans, designs, and specifications to improve Weather Bureau operations and programs while also developing methods and techniques for systems analysis.

Historical Publications

Test and Evaluation Division (T&ED)

Historical Organization


T&EDThe Test and Evaluation Division, formerly known as the Test and Evaluation Laboratory (T&EL), conducted experiments and tests to determine the suitability of newly developed equipment, instruments, and systems for use in the field. This division coordinated testing with other NWS R&D organizations such as the Systems Development Office, and worked closely with operational components of NWS to guide implementation of new technologies.

Historical Publications

Training Center (TC)

Historical Organization


TCThe NWS Training Center was the centralized organization responsible for providing instruction to meet most of the training needs of the National Weather Service. Courses were developed and conducted by two divisions of the Training Center: Meteorology and Management, and Electronics and Engineering.

Historical Publications

Water Management Information Division (WMID)

Historical Organization


WMIDThe Water Management Information Division was established even before the era of ESSA, underscoring the foundational importance of its domain to NWS. Although it has been subject to several reorganizations, it is believed that these functions now belong with the Office of Water Prediction. The Water Management Information Division provided comprehensive hydrometeorological studies including both precipitation frequency studies, and climatic studies along with hydrologic design and water resource planning.

Historical Publications

Weather Analysis and Prediction Division (WAPD)

Historical Organization


WAPDThe Weather Analysis and Prediction Division published Notes to Forecasters in order to distribute technical and scientific information related to the field forecasting operations of the Weather Bureau to field offices. The content of the Notes was concerned predominantly with forecasting techniques, procedures and performance data.

Historical Publications