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OAR Publications: All OAR Publications

The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research today comprises six major programs and seven major laboratories. While NOAA's research branch has changed over the years, with the addition of new organizations and the attrition of others, some of OAR's modern-day laboratories are the modern iterations of the former Environmental Research Laboratories (ERL) of NOAA's predecessor, the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA). The transformation of NOAA research from mid-twentieth century to today is representative of how NOAA has reinvented itself in the pursuit of increased understanding of the oceans and atmosphere.

 

About this guide: Publications from both contemporary and historic offices and labs 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.

Air Resources Laboratory (ARL)

ARL ARL, a present-day OAR lab and former ESSA Research Laboratory, develops and improves atmospheric dispersion and air chemistry models; collects research-grade atmospheric and deposition measurements of select air chemistry parameters; studies the atmospheric boundary layer by collecting and analyzing essential data of surface and near surface weather and climate conditions; and provides high quality, reference-grade measurements of critical climate parameters. ARL includes four research divisions: the Atmospheric Sciences Modeling Division (ASMD), the Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD), the Field Research Division (FRD), and the Special Operations & Research Division (SORD).

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Predecessor Organization


The former Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Laboratory has now been absorbed into ARL as a division. However, this organization traces its roots to a Weather Bureau Research Station established in 1948 as part of the larger US government nuclear efforts in Oak Ridge TN, in order to provide insight into the movement of radionuclides dispersed in the atmosphere. During the ESSA era, research revolved around climatological data gathering and analysis, planetary boundary layer studies, plume dispersion studies, turbulence and diffusion in the lower atmosphere, ecology-meteorology interaction, and a Nuclear Safety Information Center.

Historical Publications

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML)

AOMLLocated 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).

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Predecessor Organizations


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).

Historical Publications

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.

Historical Publications

Chemical Sciences Division (CSD)

ESRL's Chemical Sciences Division has three primary research areas: climate, air quality, and the stratospheric ozone layer. Its seven research groups consist of Cloud & Aerosol Processes, Regional Chemical Modeling, Tropospheric Chemistry, Chemistry & Climate Processes, Atmospheric Remote Sensing, Chemical Processes & Instrument Development, and Atmospheric Composition & Chemical Processes.

Current Publications

ALFirst established as an ESSA Research Laboratory, the Aeronomy Laboratory became part of CSD with the advent of ESRL, although the AL Tropical Dynamics and Climate Division separately merged with the Physical Sciences Division (PSD). AL's mission has been the study of the chemical, radiative and dynamical processes of the Earth's atmosphere, in order to improve the ability to predict its behavior. Research focuses on the following three atmospheric issues: climate (chemical composition, radiation, and clouds), regional air chemistry, and stratospheric ozone-layer recovery. 

Historical Publications

Climate Program Office (CPO)

CPOCreated in 2005, the Climate Program Office fosters preparedness and risk management for global climate variability and change through research, partnerships, and its global network of in situ atmospheric and oceanic observation devices. CPO provides climate forecasts for a range of temporal and geographic spans. Much of CPO's work involves modeling climate change and formulating risk responses. CPO's research divisions include the Ocean Observing and Monitoring Division (OOMD), the Earth Systems Science and Modeling Division (ESSM), and the Climate and Societal Interactions Division (CSID).

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL)

GFDLNOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory was originally formed in 1955 as part of the Weather Bureau before becoming one of ESSA's Environmental Research Laboratories in 1967. GFDL studies the predictability and sensitivity of global and regional climate; the structure, variability, dynamics and interaction of the atmosphere and the ocean; and the ways that the atmosphere and oceans influence, and are influenced by, various trace constituents. GFDL includes six research divisions: Atmospheric Physics; Biogeochemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry and Ecosystems; Ocean and Cryosphere; Seasonal-to-Decadal Variability and Predictability; Weather and Climate Dynamics, and Modeling Systems.

Historical Publications

Global Monitoring Division (GMD)

GMDThe Global Monitoring Division focuses its research on greenhouse gas and carbon cycle feedbacks, changes in clouds, aerosols, and surface radiation, and recovery of stratospheric ozone. GMD collects observations and performs analysis through its observatories and research groups.  GMD's programs date back to CMDL (below) and the Geophysical Monitoring for Climatic Change (GMCC) program begun in 1971 to establish a baseline and continuous monitoring for climate change. GMD includes five research groups: Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases (CCGG), Halocarbons and other Atmospheric Trace Species (HATS), Ozone and Water Vapor (OZWV), Aerosols (AERO), and Global Radiation (G-RAD).

Current Publications

Predecessor Organization


CMDL NOAA's Climate Monitoring and Diagnostic Laboratory was active through the seventies until it was absorbed into GMD with the creation of ESRL in 2005. The main thrust of CMDL's research activities was in climate forcing (greenhouse gases, aerosols, and radiation), ozone depletion (including stratospheric aerosols, water vapor, ozone measurements, and ozone depleting gases), and air quality.

Historical Publications

Global Systems Division (GSD)

GSDThe Global Systems Division mission, simply put, is to make forecasts better through developing continuous global to storm scale situational awareness capabilities, creating a fully coupled earth system modeling prediction tool, and providing outreach, accessible information and decision support tools. GSD's five research branches include: Advanced Technologies Branch (ATB), the Assimilation Development Branch (ADB), the Evaluation and Decision Support (EDS), the Model Development Branch (MDB), and Information and Technology Services (ITS).

Current Publications

Predecessor Organization


FSLThe Forecast Systems Laboratory, GSD's predecessor agency, was current from 1989 to 2005. FSL was preceded by the Prototype Regional Observing and Forecasting Service Program (PROFS) (1979-1989). These organizations were involved with testing and technology transfer of many tools and techniques applied by the National Weather Service, such as the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS).  

Historical Publications

Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL)

GLERLThe Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory was formally established in 1974. GLERL researches food web changes since the Zebra and Quagga mussel invasion, the impacts of climate change, the development of coastal forecast systems, dissemination of satellite imagery for environmental products development, the bioavailability of toxic organic chemicals, and harmful algal bloom forecasting. GLERL includes three research branches: the Observing Systems and Advanced Technology (OSAT) branch, the Ecosystems Dynamics branch, and the Integrated Physical and Ecological Modeling and Forecasting (IPEMF) branch.

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes (LCI)

OAR's Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes includes the totality of OAR's seven labs and sixteen cooperative institutes consisting of forty-two universities and research institutions across twenty-three states and the District of Columbia.

Current Publications

National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)

NSSLAn OAR lab originally established in 1964, NSSL investigates weather radar, tornadoes, flash floods, lightning, damaging winds, hail, and winter weather. NSSL performs research on RADAR tools, forecast research on weather prediction models and techniques, and research into new methods of warnings to the public including applications and water resource management tools. NSSL's three research divisions include the Forecast Research & Development Division, the Radar Research & Development Division, and the Warning Research & Development Division.

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Ocean Acidification Program (OAP)

OAR's Ocean Acidification Program was created relatively recently, in 2011, in order to respond to the increasingly urgent issue of changing global ocean chemistry. OAP uses hydrographic surveys, ship-based observations, and time series stations to monitor carbonate chemistry; studies marine organism response to acidification; performs education and outreach to the public; helps build adaptation strategies; and provides an online portal to disseminate and collect data.

Current Publications

Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER)

The Office of Ocean Exploration and Research was formed in 2007 as the result of the merging of the National Undersea Research Program (NURP) and the Office of Ocean Exploration (OE). OER has an emphasis on discovery through exploration of and research on the global ocean; other goals are developing innovative technologies, transitioning research to applications, and educating the public. Areas of scientific interest include coastal and ocean mapping, marine archaeology, and baseline observations of understudied areas of the ocean. The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer conducts regular expeditions. OER includes five product lines of business: Advancing Technology, Exploration, Catalyzing Research, Information Management, and Education.

Current Publications

Predecessor Organization


NURPThe National Undersea Research Program was established in 1982 and structured primarily around extramural research conducted by scientists outside NOAA. Developing innovative underwater technologies and research on fisheries, corals, climate and the ocean carbon cycle were some of the primary goals in NURP's work in the oceans and Great Lakes.

Historical Publications

Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)

PMELThe Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory has as its primary research interests ocean acidification, tsunami detection and forecasting, hydrothermal vent systems, fisheries oceanography, and long term climate monitoring and analysis in order to increase understanding of the global ocean and develop new technologies. PMEL, then known as the Pacific Oceanographic Laboratories, was one of the foundational ESSA Research Laboratories. PMEL includes the Ocean Environment Research Division (OERD), the Ocean Climate Research Division (OCRD), and the Engineering Development Division (EDD).

Current Publications

Historical Publications

Physical Sciences Division (PSD)

PSDThis ESRL component researches weather, water, and climate extremes, develops observing and modeling methods for droughts and floods, and increases understanding of the coupled Arctic system and Arctic lower-latitude interactions. Recent PSD publications have covered El Niño, ocean temperatures, the atmospheric stable boundary layer (SBL), hurricanes and cyclones, and sea ice loss, among many other topics. PSD's research teams include Atmosphere-Ocean Processes, Attribution and Predictability Assessments, Boundary Layer Observations and Processes, Dynamics and Multiscale Interactions, Forecast and Modeling Development, Hydrometeorology Modeling and Applications, Hydrometeorology Observations and Processes,  and Polar Observations and Processes.

Current Publications

Predecessor Organization


The Environmental Technology Laboratory, since folded into PSD, has its own predecessor in an ESSA Research Laboratory, the Wave Propagation Laboratory. WPL concerned itself with development of new methods for remote sensing of the geophysical environment, with special emphasis on propagation of sound waves, and electromagnetic waves at millimeter, infrared, and optical frequencies.

Historical Publications

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program (UAS)

UASThe Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program is one of OAR's newer components, having been established in the early 2000's after a successful collaboration with NASA and other partners that led to the testing of UAS. Alongside NOAA's ground-based sensors and satellites, UAS is an important tool with applications for sensing the atmosphere and weather, monitoring the poles, and collecting data for marine mammal conservation and oil spill responses.

Current Publications

Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry Laboratory (APCL)

Historical Organization


This laboratory, one of the original ESSA Research Laboratories, studied cloud physics and precipitation, chemical composition and nucleating substances in the lower atmosphere, and conducted laboratory and field experiments toward developing feasible methods of weather modification. 

Historical Publications

Earth Sciences Laboratories (ESL)

Historical Organization


ESLNow defunct, the Earth Sciences Laboratories formed part of the ERL, and had under its purview research into geomagnetism, seismology, geodesy, and related earth sciences; earthquake processes, internal structure of the Earth, and distribution of the Earth’s mass.

Historical Publications

Institute for Atmospheric Sciences (IAS)

Historical Organization


IASThis scientific body was one of four foundational institutes that were incorporated into the eleven research laboratories of ERL with the reorganization of 1967. Its mission was seeking to improve the understanding of atmospheric processes and phenomena required to improve weather forecasts and related services and to modify and control the weather.

Historical Publications

Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS)

Historical Organization


ITSOnce part of the Environmental Research Laboratories, ITS is no longer with NOAA but remains within the Department of Commerce, now housed in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). When in ERL, ITS was the central federal agency for research and services in propagation of radio waves, radio properties of the earth and its atmosphere, nature of radio noise and interference, information transmission and antennas, and methods for the more effective use of the radio spectrum for telecommunications.

Historical Publications

Marine Minerals Technology Center (MMTC)

Historical Organization


MMTCThis organization, which has since been shuttered, was concerned with methods for the exploitation of marine mineral resources and the environmental effects of mining. MMTC produced studies in areas such as gravel and sand mining, the use of drills, dragline dredge sampling, and more.

Historical Publications

Office of Weather Research and Modification (OWRM)

Historical Organization


The Office of Weather Research and Modification sought to improve understanding of flash floods, convective storms, and other rainfall events. OWRM was a key participant in the Florida Atlantic Cumulus Experiments, a 1970s program for the testing of cloud seeding.

Historical Publications

Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program (OCSEAP)

Historical Organization


OCSEAPThis temporary program was NOAA's contribution to a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) investigation of the potential effects of oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The geographical extent of NOAA's program was limited the the OCS in Alaska. Scientific objectives included surveying the potential risks of contaminants and other environmental hazards released by petroleum exploration and extraction, as well as the likely effects on marine organisms and ecosystems.

Historical Publications

Weather Modification Program Office (WMPO)

Historical Organization


WMPOThe Weather Modification Program Office, since disbanded, was responsible for planning and directing ERL weather modification research activities in precipitation enhancement and severe storms mitigation and operation of ERL research aircraft. During the 1970s, the National Hurricane Research Laboratory (NHRL) and the Experimental Meteorology Laboratory (EML) were subordinate organizations to WMPO.

Historical Publications

Weather Research Program (WRP) Environmental Sciences Group (ESG)

Historical Organization


WRPThe Weather Research Program of the Environmental Sciences Group formerly published research on air chemistry, mesoscale convection, climatology, lightning, synoptic flow, Doppler radar data processing, and forecasting tools.

Historical Publications