A weather enterprise that is conducting world-class research to ensure that NOAA's future weather and air quality prediction capabilities are second to none and that the public response to these predictions results in the protection of life and property.
Find, fund, and foster collaborative research to understand and develop products, tools, and services to improve weather and air quality forecasting and societal outcomes.
What We Do
NOAA’s Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ) helps to improve weather forecast information and products for the Nation by supporting high-impact weather and air quality research that ultimately leads to improvements in NOAA’s operational forecasts that help save lives and reduce property damage. OWAQ funds research through the U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP) and the Tornado and Severe Storm Research project providing outreach, linkages, and coordination between NOAA, other government agencies, and the academic and private sectors, both in the U.S. and abroad. OWAQ works to help NOAA develop, and get access to, the weather and air quality research capabilities it needs.
The Joint Hurricane and Hazardous Weather Testbeds competitively fund NOAA laboratories and academic partners to provide the additional research needed to allow new data and improved models to transition to hurricane and severe thunderstorm forecast operations. This research has led to improvements in NOAA’s hurricane and severe thunderstorm forecasts, including surface winds and storm tracks, which are crucial for helping emergency managers and citizens prepare for destructive winds, flooding, tornadoes, and storm surge impacts from these storms.
OWAQ supports applied extreme precipitation research conducted by OAR’s laboratories and its partners that focus on understanding the physical processes associated with extreme precipitation and developing new decision support tools to help forecast these events at NWS forecast offices and national centers. This research, conducted at NOAA’s Hydrometeorology Testbed, also benefits state water resource managers who rely on accurate precipitation forecasts.
OWAQ supports social science research that enables NOAA to improve communication during dangerous weather situations. For example, researchers from University of Oklahoma are using social media data to develop indicators of real time public attention to severe weather events. This is part of a larger project to understand the relationship between communication, attention, and public responsiveness to severe weather.
OWAQ supports research on key atmospheric processes contributing to the creation and transport of atmospheric aerosols that can affect human health and transportation. OWAQ-supported research at OAR laboratories and with their partners has led to advancements in modeling the creation and movement of these particles throughout the atmosphere. This research also contributes to improving National Weather Service air quality predictions so people can act to limit the adverse effects on humans, surface transportation and aviation.
For further information, please see the OWAQ Fact Sheet.