NOAA’s Vision

To move NOAA into the 21st century scientifically and operationally, in the same inter-related manner as the environment that we observe and forecast while recognizing the link between our global economy and our planet’s environment.

NOAA’ s Mission

To understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our Nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs.

NOAA’s Mission Goals

  1. Protect, restore, and manage the use of coastal and ocean resources through ecosystem management approaches.

  2. Understand climate variability and change to enhance society’s ability to plan and respond.

  3. Serve society’s needs for weather and water information.

  4. Support the Nation’s commerce with information for safe and efficient transportation.

SOURCE: Excerpted from “New Priorities for the 21st Century, NOAA’s Strategic Plan for FY 2003–FY 2008 and Beyond,” available at

for satellite data to be employed to aid decision makers (or simply satisfy curiosities) is essentially limitless.

Historically, the dominant use of operational satellite data has been to serve NOAA’s mandated mission of weather forecasting through the arm of the National Weather Service (NWS). Thus, the bulk of the satellite-based products generated by NOAA were designed for these NWS applications. A new trend has developed, which will continue through the next decade, in which operational satellite data are used for all types of environmental monitoring of the Earth system. These operational data are now and will continue to be packaged and delivered to provide timely and targeted information for innumerable reasons, most of which relate to some type of decision-making process. Additionally, retrospective analysis of satellite products is also growing as demands for high-precision, long-term time series of environmental variables are required. Thus, new products based on operational satellite data are finding significant utility outside the traditional weather-forecasting arena. As a consequence, the user community is expanding rapidly, and NOAA’s role in fulfilling this demand for increasingly precise and up-to-date environmental information beyond weather forecasts must be addressed. The following is a sampling of uses presented here to alert the appropriate agencies to the growing demand for information that at least in part will require operational satellite data. These examples

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