National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA logo.svg
Logo of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA Flag.svg
Flag of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Agency overview
FormedFebruary 10, 1807;212 years ago (1807-02-10)
Reestablished:
October 3, 1970;48 years ago (1970-10-03)
Preceding agency
  • United States Survey of the Coast
Jurisdiction US Federal Government
Headquarters Silver Spring, Maryland, US
38°59′32.1″N77°01′50.3″W / 38.992250°N 77.030639°W / 38.992250; -77.030639
Employees
Annual budget US$5.6 billion (est. 2011)
Agency executive
Parent agency US Department of Commerce
Website NOAA.gov
Footnotes
[1] [2] [3] [4]

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, /ˈn.ə/ like Noah ) is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere.

Noah is a given name and surname most likely derived from the Biblical figure Noah (נוֹחַ) in Hebrew. It is most likely of Babylonian and Assyrian origin from the word "nukhu" meaning repose or rest, which is possible in view of the Sumerian/Babylonian source of the flood story. Another explanation says that it is derived from the Hebrew root meaning "to comfort" (nahum) with the final consonant dropped.

United States Department of Commerce government agency

In the United States, the Department of Commerce is an executive department of the federal government concerned with promoting economic growth. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for business and government decision-making, and helping to set industrial standards. This organization's main purpose is to create jobs, promote economic growth, encourage sustainable development and block harmful trade practices of other nations. The Department of Commerce headquarters is the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. Wilbur Ross is the current Commerce secretary.

Contents

NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, and conducts research to provide understanding and improve stewardship of the environment.

Weather Short-term state of the atmosphere

Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the lowest level of the atmosphere, the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate is the term for the averaging of atmospheric conditions over longer periods of time. When used without qualification, "weather" is generally understood to mean the weather of Earth.

NOAA was officially formed in 1970 [5] and in 2017 had over 11,000 civilian employees. [3] Its research and operations are further supported by 321 uniformed service members who make up the NOAA Commissioned Corps. [6]

The United States of America has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10 and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 32 and Title 42 of the United States Code.

Since February 2019, NOAA has been headed by Neil Jacobs, as acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA interim administrator. NOAA has not had a confirmed leader since January of 2017.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere

The Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, or USC(OA), is a high-ranking official in the United States Department of Commerce and the principal advisor to the United States Secretary of Commerce on the environmental and scientific activities of the Department. The Under Secretary is dual hatted as the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Commerce Department.

Purpose and function

Two NOAA WP-3D Orions NOAA WP-3D Orions.jpg
Two NOAA WP-3D Orions

NOAA's specific roles include:

National Weather Service United States weather agency

The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the Washington metropolitan area. The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 until it adopted its current name in 1970.

The five "fundamental activities" are:

History

NOAA traces its history back to multiple agencies, [9] some of which were among the oldest in the federal government: [10]

Another direct predecessor of NOAA was the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA), into which several existing scientific agencies such as the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Weather Bureau and the uniformed Corps were absorbed in 1965. [11]

NOAA was established within the Department of Commerce via the Reorganization Plan No. 4 [12] and formed on October 3, 1970 after U.S. President Richard Nixon proposed creating a new agency to serve a national need for "better protection of life and property from natural hazards …for a better understanding of the total environment…[and] for exploration and development leading to the intelligent use of our marine resources."[ citation needed ]

In 2007, NOAA celebrated 200 years of service in its role as successor to the United States Survey of the Coast. [13] In 2013, NOAA closed 600 weather stations. [14]

Organizational structure

NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland 2016-05-09 17 23 45 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration headquarters at the intersection of Colesville Road (Maryland State Route 384) and East-West Highway (Maryland State Route 410) in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland.jpg
NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland

NOAA Administrator

Since February 25, 2019 Neil Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, has served as acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the US Department of Commerce and NOAA's interim administrator.

Jacobs succeeded Timothy Gallaudet who succeeded Benjamin Friedman. The three have served in series as NOAA's interim administrator since the end of the Obama Administration on January 20, 2017. [15] In October 2017, Barry Lee Myers, CEO of AccuWeather, was proposed to be the agency's administrator by the Trump Administration. [16]

NOAA Services

NOAA works toward its mission through six major line offices, the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the National Ocean Service (NOS), the National Weather Service (NWS), the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and the Office of Marine & Aviation Operations (OMAO). [17] and in addition more than a dozen staff offices, including the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology, the NOAA Central Library, the Office of Program Planning and Integration (PPI). [17]

National Weather Service

Seal of the National Weather Service US-NationalWeatherService-Logo.svg
Seal of the National Weather Service

The National Weather Service (NWS) is tasked with providing "weather, hydrologic and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy." This is done through a collection of national and regional centers, 13 river forecast centers (RFCs), and more than 120 local weather forecast offices (WFOs). They are charged with issuing weather and river forecasts, advisories, watches, and warnings on a daily basis. They issue more than 734,000 weather and 850,000 river forecasts, and more than 45,000 severe weather warnings annually. NOAA data is also relevant to the issues of global warming and ozone depletion.[ citation needed ]

The NWS operates NEXRAD, a nationwide network of Doppler weather radars which can detect precipitation and their velocities. Many of their products are broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio, a network of radio transmitters that broadcasts weather forecasts, severe weather statements, watches and warnings 24 hours a day. [18]

National Ocean Service

The National Ocean Service (NOS) focuses on ensuring that ocean and coastal areas are safe, healthy, and productive. NOS scientists, natural resource managers, and specialists serve America by ensuring safe and efficient marine transportation, promoting innovative solutions to protect coastal communities, and conserving marine and coastal places.[ citation needed ]

The National Ocean Service is composed of eight program offices: the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, [19] the Coastal Services Center, [20] the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, [21] the Office of Coast Survey, [22] the Office of National Geodetic Survey, [23] the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries [24] the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management [25] and the Office of Response and Restoration. [26]

There are two NOS programs, namely the Mussel Watch Contaminant Monitoring Program and the NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and two staff offices, the International Program Office and the Management and Budget Office.

National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service

NOAA engineer at work NOAAEngineerAtWork.jpg
NOAA engineer at work

The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) was created by NOAA to operate and manage the US environmental satellite programs, and manage NWS data and those of other government agencies and departments.[ citation needed ] NESDIS's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) archives data collected by the NOAA, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration, and meteorological services around the world and comprises the Center for Weather and Climate (previously NOAA's National Climatic Data Center) and the Center for Coasts, Oceans, and Geophysics (created by a merger of NOAA's National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) and the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC)).

In 1960 TIROS-1, NOAA's first owned and operated geostationary satellite was launched. Since 1966 NESDIS has managed polar orbiting satellites (POES) and since 1974 it has operated geosynchronous satellites (GOES) . In 1979 NOAA's first polar-orbiting environmental satellite was launched. Current operational satellites include NOAA-15, NOAA-18, NOAA-19, GOES 13, GOES 14, GOES 15, Jason-2 and DSCOVR. In 1983, NOAA assumed operational responsibility for Landsat satellite system. [27] [ citation needed ] Since May 1998, NESIDS has operated the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites on behalf of the Air Force Weather Agency. [28] [ citation needed ]

New generations of satellites are developed to succeed the current polar orbiting and geosynchronous satellites, the Joint Polar Satellite System) and GOES-R, which is scheduled for launch in March 2017. [29] [ citation needed ]

NESDIS runs the Office of Projects, Planning, and Analysis (OPPA)] formerly the Office of Systems Development, [30] the Office of Satellite Ground Systems (formerly the Office of Satellite Operations) [31] the Office of Satellite and Project Operations, [32] the Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR)], [33] the Joint Polar Satellite System Program Office [34] the GOES-R Program Office, the International & Interagency Affairs Office, the Office of Space Commercialization [35] and the Office of System Architecture and Advanced Planning.

National Marine Fisheries Service

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), also known as NOAA Fisheries, was initiated in 1871 with a primary goal of the research, protection, management, and restoration of commercial and recreational fisheries and their habitat, and protected species. NMFS operates twelve headquarters offices, five regional offices, six fisheries science centers, and more than 20 laboratories throughout the United States and U.S. territories, which are the sites of research and management of marine resources. NMFS also operates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is the primary site of marine resource law enforcement.

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

NOAA's research, conducted through the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), is the driving force behind NOAA environmental products and services that protect life and property and promote economic growth. Research, conducted in OAR laboratories and by extramural programs, focuses on enhancing our understanding of environmental phenomena such as tornadoes, hurricanes, climate variability, solar flares, changes in the ozone, air pollution transport and dispersion, [36] [37] El Niño/La Niña events, fisheries productivity, ocean currents, deep sea thermal vents, and coastal ecosystem health. NOAA research also develops innovative technologies and observing systems.

The NOAA Research network consists of seven internal research laboratories, extramural research at 30 Sea Grant university and research programs, six undersea research centers, a research grants program through the Climate Program Office, and 13 cooperative institutes with academia. Through NOAA and its academic partners, thousands of scientists, engineers, technicians, and graduate students participate in furthering our knowledge of natural phenomena that affect the lives of us all. [38] [ citation needed ]

The Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) is one of the laboratories in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. It studies processes and develops models relating to climate and air quality, including the transport, dispersion, transformation and removal of pollutants from the ambient atmosphere. The emphasis of the ARL's work is on data interpretation, technology development and transfer. The specific goal of ARL research is to improve and eventually to institutionalize prediction of trends, dispersion of air pollutant plumes, air quality, atmospheric deposition, and related variables. [39] [ self-published source ][ citation needed ]

The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), is part of NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, located in Miami, Florida. AOML's research spans hurricanes, coastal ecosystems, oceans and human health, climate studies, global carbon systems, and ocean observations. AOML's organizational structure consists of an Office of the Director and three scientific research divisions (Physical Oceanography, Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems, and Hurricane Research). The Office of the Director oversees the Laboratory's scientific programs, as well as its financial, administrative, computer, outreach/education, and facility management services. Research programs are augmented by the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), a joint enterprise with the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. CIMAS enables AOML and university scientists to collaborate on research areas of mutual interest and facilitates the participation of students and visiting scientists. AOML is a member of a unique community of marine research and educational institutions located on Virginia Key in Miami, Florida.[ citation needed ]

In 1977 the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) deployed the first successful moored equatorial current meter – the beginning of the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean, TAO, array. In 1984 the Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere program (TOGA) program began.

Office of Marine and Aviation Operations

The Office of Marine and Aviation Operations is responsible for the fleet of NOAA ships, aircraft, and diving operations. It has the largest research fleet of the Federal government. Its personnel is made up of civilians and the NOAA Commissioned Corps. [40] The office is headed by a NOAA Corps two-star rear admiral, who also commands the Corps. [41]

National Geodetic Survey

The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is the primary surveying organization in the United States.[ citation needed ]

National Integrated Drought Information System

The National Integrated Drought Information System is a program within NOAA with an interagency mandate to coordinate and integrate drought research, building upon existing federal, tribal, state, and local partnerships in support of creating a national drought early warning information system. [42]

NOAA Commissioned Corps

Seal of the NOAA Commissioned Corps NOAA Commissioned Corps.png
Seal of the NOAA Commissioned Corps

The NOAA Commissioned Corps is a uniformed service of men and women who operate NOAA ships and aircraft, and serve in scientific and administrative posts.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Since 2001, the organization has hosted the senior staff and recent chair, Susan Solomon, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's working group on climate science. [43]

Hurricane Dorian controversy

Hurricane Dorian was an extremely powerful and destructive tropical cyclone that devastated the northwestern Bahamas and caused significant damage to the Southeastern United States and Atlantic Canada in September 2019. By September 1, NOAA had issued a statement saying that the "current forecast path of Dorian does not include Alabama." However, on that date President Donald Trump tweeted that Alabama, among other states, "will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated." Shortly thereafter, the Birmingham, Alabama office of the National Weather Service issued a tweet that appeared to contradict Trump, saying that Alabama "will NOT see any impacts from Dorian" On September 6, NOAA published a statement from an unidentified spokesperson supporting Trump's September 1 claim. The statement also labelled the Birmingham, Alabama branch of the National Weather Service's contradiction of Trump as incorrect. [44] [45] [46] The New York Times reported that the NOAA September 6 statement was prompted by a threat from U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to fire high-level NOAA staff unless they supported President Trump's claim. The Department of Commerce described this report as "false". [47] [48] Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that NOAA had twice ordered National Weather Service employees not to provide "any opinion" on Hurricane Dorian and to "only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts". The first order came after Trump's September 1 comments and the Birmingham, Alabama National Weather Service's contradiction of Trump. The second order came on September 4 after Trump displayed an August 29 map that was altered with a black marker to show that Hurricane Dorian may hit Alabama. [49]

On September 9, speaking at a Alabama National Weather Service (NWS) meeting the Director of the National Weather Service gave a speech supporting Birmingham NWS and said the team "stopped public panic" and "ensured public safety." He said that when Birmingham issued their instructions they were not aware that the calls they were receiving were a result of Trump's tweet. The acting chief scientist and assistant administrator for ocean and atmospheric research said he is “pursuing the potential violations” of the agency’s science integrity policy. [50]

Flag

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration flag, flown as a distinguishing mark by all commissioned NOAA ships. NOAA Flag.svg
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration flag, flown as a distinguishing mark by all commissioned NOAA ships.

The NOAA flag is a modification of the flag of one of its predecessor organizations, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. The Coast and Geodetic Survey's flag, authorized in 1899 and in use until 1970, was blue, with a white circle centered in it and a red triangle centered within the circle. It symbolized the use of triangulation in surveying, and was flown by ships of the Survey.[ citation needed ]

When NOAA was established in 1970 and the Coast and Geodetic Survey's assets became a part of NOAA, NOAA based its own flag on that of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The NOAA flag is in essence the Coast and Geodetic Survey flag, with the NOAA logo—a circle divided by the silhouette of a seabird into an upper dark blue and a lower light blue section, but with the "NOAA" legend omitted—centered within the red triangle. NOAA ships in commission display the NOAA flag; those with only one mast fly it immediately beneath the ship's commissioning pennant or the personal flag of a civilian official or flag officer if one is aboard the ship, while multimasted vessels fly it at the masthead of the forwardmost mast. [51] NOAA ships fly the same ensign as United States Navy ships but fly the NOAA flag as a distinguishing mark to differentiate themselves from Navy ships.

See also

Related Research Articles

NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, known informally as the NOAA Corps, is one of seven federal uniformed services of the United States, and operates under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a scientific agency overseen by the Department of Commerce. The NOAA Corps is made up of scientifically and technically trained officers and is the smallest of the U.S. uniformed services. It is one of only two––the other being the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps––that consists only of commissioned officers, with no enlisted or warrant officer ranks.

U.S. National Geodetic Survey

The National Geodetic Survey (NGS), formerly the United States Survey of the Coast (1807–1836), United States Coast Survey (1836–1878), and United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) (1878–1970), is a United States federal agency that defines and manages a national coordinate system, providing the foundation for transportation and communication; mapping and charting; and a large number of applications of science and engineering. Since its foundation in its present form in 1970, it has been part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), of the United States Department of Commerce.

The National Ocean Service (NOS), an office within the U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is responsible for preserving and enhancing the nation's coastal resources and ecosystems along 95,000 miles (153,000 km) of shoreline bordering 3,500,000 square miles (9,100,000 km2) of coastal, Great Lakes, and ocean waters. Its mission is to "provide science-based solutions through collaborative partnerships to address evolving economic, environmental, and social pressures on our oceans and coasts." NOS works closely with many partner agencies to ensure that ocean and coastal areas are safe, healthy, and productive. National Ocean Service scientists, natural resource managers, and specialists ensure safe and efficient marine transportation, promote innovative solutions to protect coastal communities, and conserve marine and coastal places. NOS is a scientific and technical organization of 1,700 scientists, natural resource managers, and specialists in many different fields. NOS delivers a dynamic range of nationwide coastal and Great Lakes scientific, technical, and resource management services in support of safe, healthy, and productive oceans and coasts. NOS develops partnerships to integrate expertise and efforts across all levels of government and with other interests to protect, maintain, and sustain the viability of coastal communities, economies and ecosystems.

The United States National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) provided scientific stewardship, products and services for geophysical data describing the solid earth, marine, and solar-terrestrial environment, as well as earth observations from space. In 2015, NGDC was merged with the National Climatic Data Center and the National Oceanographic Data Center into the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

The National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) was one of the national environmental data centers operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The main NODC facility was located in Silver Spring, Maryland and was made up of five divisions. The NODC also had field offices collocated with major government or academic oceanographic laboratories in Stennis Space Center, MS; Miami, FL; La Jolla, San Diego, California; Seattle, WA; Austin, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; and Honolulu, Hawaii. In 2015, NODC was merged with the National Climatic Data Center and the National Geophysical Data Center into the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

National Marine Fisheries Service

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), informally known as NOAA Fisheries, is the United States federal agency responsible for the stewardship of national marine resources. The agency conserves and manages fisheries to promote sustainability and prevent lost economic potential associated with overfishing, declining species, and degraded habitats.

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). OAR is also referred to as NOAA Research.

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), a federal research laboratory, is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), located in Miami, Florida. AOML's research spans tropical cyclone and hurricanes, coastal ecosystems, oceans and human health, climate studies, global carbon systems, and ocean observations. It is one of seven NOAA Research Laboratories (RLs).

The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) is a laboratory in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). It is one of seven NOAA Research Laboratories (RLs). The PMEL is split across two sites in the Pacific Northwest, in Seattle, Washington and Newport, Oregon.

The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) is a scientific research institution at Colorado State University (CSU) that operates under a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). Atmospheric research at CIRA focuses on augmenting operational meteorology with advanced techniques in satellite observations and retrievals, numerical modeling and computational techniques, and data analysis, visualization, and storage. Along with NOAA, CIRA also partners with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Park Service (NPS), and the Department of Defense (DoD).

NOAA ships and aircraft

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) operates a wide variety of specialized aircraft and ships to complete NOAA's environmental and scientific missions. OMAO also manages the NOAA Small Boat Program and the NOAA Diving Program, the latter having as part of its mission the job of ensuring a level of diving skill conducive to safe and efficient operations in NOAA-sponsored underwater activities.

NOAAS <i>Rude</i> (S 590) Research ship

NOAAS Rude was an American Rude-class hydrographic survey ship that was in commission in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1970 to 2008. Prior to her NOAA career, she was in commission in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1967 to 1970 as USC&GS Rude.She was named for Gilbert T. Rude, former Chief of the Division of Coastal Surveys of the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Environmental Science Services Administration

The Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) was a United States Federal executive agency created in 1965 as part of a reorganization of the United States Department of Commerce. Its mission was to unify and oversee the meteorological, climatological, hydrographic, and geodesic operations of the United States. It operated until 1970, when it was replaced by the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to operate and manage the United States environmental satellite programs, and manage the data gathered by the National Weather Service and other government agencies and departments.

GOES 1

GOES-1, designated GOES-A and SMS-C prior to entering service, was a weather satellite operated by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was the first Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite to be launched.

Department of Commerce Gold Medal

The Department of Commerce Gold Medal is the highest honor award of the United States Department of Commerce. Since 1949, the Gold Medal is presented by the Secretary of Commerce for distinguished performance. The award may be presented to an individual, group, or organization in the Commerce Department for extraordinary, noble, or prestigious contributions that impact the mission of the department and/or one or more operating units, which reflects favorable on the department.

Kelly E. Taggart

Rear Admiral Kelly E. Taggart was a career officer who served in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps, its successor, the Environmental Science Services Administration Corps, and the ESSA Corps's successor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps. He served as the second Director of the NOAA Corps.

Francis D. Moran

Rear Admiral Francis D. "Bill" Moran is a retired career officer who served in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps, its successor, the Environmental Science Services Administration Corps, and the ESSA Corps's successor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps. He served as the third Director of the NOAA Corps.

Sigmund R. Petersen

Rear Admiral Sigmund R. Petersen is a retired career officer who served in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps, its successor, the Environmental Science Services Administration Corps, and the ESSA Corps's successor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps. He served as the fourth Director of the NOAA Corps.

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