In 2018, fourteen weather and climate disaster events across the United States (U.S.) caused losses in excess of $1 billion each. That mix of drought, severe storms, tropical cyclones, wildfire, and winter storm events resulted in the deaths of 247 people and had significant economic effects. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) analysts report that weather alone can cause the gross domestic product in the U.S. to vary by as much as $1.3 trillion annually. By fostering weather research related to high-impact events, and by focusing on research that enables effective communication of the risks, the Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ) is supporting the world-class weather and air quality research that makes it possible to save lives, reduce property damage, and enhance the national economy.
VISION: A Weather-Ready Nation informed by world-class weather research.
MISSION: Finding, funding, and fostering collaborative weather and air quality research to discover, develop, and transition products, tools, and services for timely and accurate weather and air quality forecasts.
OWAQ discovers, develops, and transitions products, tools, and services for world-class weather and air quality research by finding, funding, and fostering collaborative research within NOAA’s research laboratories and across the weather enterprise (i.e., NOAA, other Federal agencies and entities, state and local governments, academia and other not-for-profits, and the private sector). Accomplishments in fiscal year 2018 (FY2018) supported each of the office’s four goals.
Goal 1. OWAQ improved effective communication of weather information to strengthen decision-making and forecasting abilities through a mix of assessments and studies by enhancing the integration of social, behavioral, and economic science (SBES) into weather research and development5 and integrating SBES research findings into weather enterprise applications.
Goal 2. OWAQ and partners advanced models and forecast tools to produce the best weather forecasts and warnings to build a Weather-Ready Nation by advancing the development and implementation of NOAA’s Unified Forecast System; beginning to advance Subseasonal-to-Seasonal forecasts; and improving severe weather prediction capability.
Goal 3. OWAQ and partners effectively and efficiently managed the advancement and transition of weather research into societal applications by advancing the development and transition of weather research to operations; ensuring operations and management processes were well-documented, maintained, and refined; and responding in a timely and effective manner to NOAA’s Congressional mandates.
Goal 4. OWAQ developed and supported a diverse and inclusive work environment that promoted equal access to the opportunities OWAQ offers by recruiting and maintaining a diverse and highly qualified workforce; promoting and enhancing the inclusion of OWAQ’s diverse workforce; and integrating and promoting diversity and inclusion as a core consideration throughout OWAQ’s funding mechanisms.