The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was founded in 1970, under the direction of the Department of Commerce. The NOAA provides and ensures access in suitable time to world environmental data and information services from satellites and other sources with the aim of promoting, protecting and improving the economy, the security, the environment and the quality of life of the nation.
This mission includes the protection of life and property against natural and technological hazards, with an emphasis on forecasting, preparation, reaction, re-establishment and mitigation measures.
The NOAA uses two satellite systems: polar orbit environmental satellites (POES) and geostationary orbit environmental satellites (GOES). The data from these satellites, and from others not belonging to the NOAA, is used to provide operational products on a continuous basis. Many of these products are used to support natural disaster management of tropical cyclones and other storms, flooding, drought, clouds of volcanic dust threatening aviation, sea ice and icebergs that are a hazard to sea navigation, coastal hazards and solar flares.
Satellites not belonging to the NOAA but used by it include the satellites in the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), other geostationary satellites, QuickSCAT and the Total Ozone Monitor Satellite (TOMS) belonging to the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), RADARSAT-1 belonging to the ASC and ERS-2 belonging to the ESA. The NOAA also uses data from commercial satellites.
The NOAA has several departments, each one specialised in a particular task: