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Frequently Asked Questions
NOAA-wide Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - This page features links to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pages of NOAA's various offices and programs, addressing their various subject areas and operations. They are categorized by NOAA topic, and include information identifying the office or program which produced the FAQ information.
NOAA Central Library FAQs
Answers to questions frequently handled by NOAA Central Library
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) accessHere is some information about accessing current and older issues of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
We also keep abut 2 years of hard copy of the CFR in the "Legal Collection" area of NOAA Central Library.
(NOAA staff: See also info on access via "HeinOnline" and "Nexis.com" under "Older CFRs" farther below.)
Further information about the CFR and how it is organized is available on the GPO Access web site's "Code of Federal Regulations: About" page.
Congressional Record accessHere is some information about accessing current and older issues of the Congressional Record.
Current/Recent Congressional RecordThe Library of Congress Thomas web site, a legislative information service (available to anyone), provides a link to "Congressional Record" on its sidebar. It includes full-text of the Congressional Record from Vol. 135 (101st Congress, 1989-90) to the present. Users can browse daily issues or serch the Congressional Record within the years of the Congress of interest.
The GPO Access web site's "Congressional Record: Main Page" allows browsing or searching of the Congressional Record from Vol. 140 (103rd Congress, 1994) to the present.
About two years of the most recent Congressional Record are also available in hard copy in the "Legal Collection" area of NOAA Central Library.
(NOAA staff: See also info on access via "Nexis.com" under "Older Congressional Record" farther below.)
Older Congressional Record
Further information about the types of materials published in the Congressional Record and how it is organized is available on the Thomas web site's About the Congressional Record page.
Federal Register AccessHere is some information about accessing current and older issues of the Federal Register
Current/Recent Federal Registers
Older Federal Registers
Further overview information about the types of materials published in the Federal Register and related publications in the Federal Register publications system is available on the National Archives web site's "Federal Register" page.
International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee papersInternational Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee papers (papers typically given at IWC annual conferences) are available at NOAA's National Marine Mammals Laboratory (NMML) Library in Seattle. The NMML Library has an arrangement with the IWC allowing them to distribute papers as needed for research purposes. The IWC Scientific Committee papers collection at the NMML Library includes papers from 1949 to the present, with 2004 to the present in electronic format.
These IWC Scientific Committee papers tend to be cited and summarized in the Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, but the Journal does not publish the full-text of the papers. For information about accessing the papers, contact:
National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) Library
NOAA Photo Library - how to creditMost images in the NOAA Photo Library are in the public domain and cannot be copyrighted. You have permission to use any images that are not identified as copyrighted. Please credit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Central Library and the photographer, if identified.
The About the Images page explains this restriction, and how to download images.
NOAA Sources of Moving ImagesVideorecordings from NOAA, other Federal agencies, and commercial producers may be discovered by searching the catalog of the NOAA Library and Information Network:
NOAA Libraries' Catalog (NOAALINC)
Complete the fields for subject and/or title, etc. according to your search parameters. From the lower search fields, select the field labeled "Type"; then select "Video". For access to videorecordings in tangible formats, note the call number and/or use the NOAA Central Library (NCL) Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Service (note: NCL ILL available to NCL patrons only). To access digital videorecordings available online via the NOAA Libraries' Catalog, search "digital video and ocean exploration" in the "words or phrase" field. For other sources of video footage from NOAA, see:
A source of motion picture and video footage, including selections from NOAA, is:
NOAA General Information
Hand of Noah SculptureThe sculpture in front of NOAA's SSMC3 building (at 1315 East-West Highway) on its Silver Spring, Maryland campus is called "The Hand of Noah". It was given this title by its sculptor, Raymond Kaskey, in 1991, and symbolizes NOAA's stewardship of the environment.
Image of the Hand of Noah:
Sculptor: Raymond Kaskey:
Kaskey Studio contact information:
NOAA Logo Information
NOAA employees may access DOC, NOAA and NODC logos in various formats via the NODC Intranet's "Reports and Information" page. (Scroll down to the "Informational Links" category, then select the "Graphics: Logos" section.)
For further information, please visit the Department of Commerce Directives Management Program Web site. Select either Department Organization Orders (DOOs) or Department Administrative Orders (DAOs), and search "logo". This search should lead to documents such as:
NOAA NAOs, DOOs, DAOs, and Related Information
NOAA Overview InformationNOAA Functions and Programs
For general, introductory information about NOAA, see NOAA's homepage. See for example the 8 boxes in the upper right content area called "Explore NOAA": Weather, Ocean, Satellites, Fisheries, Climate, Research, Coasts, and Charting & Navigation. These links lead to webpages providing overview information for these NOAA areas of responsibility.
NOAA's Strategic Plan provides information on NOAA goals, programs, and issues:
NOAA Heritage - NOAA-related historical documents, laws, and essays
NOAA and the Preserve America Initiative - NOAA's work to preserve its heritage resources
NOAA's line offices are located in four buildings in Silver Spring, Maryland, and there are also regional offices and laboratories throughout the country. Visit the homepages of the line offices/staff offices and look for an "Organization" or "About" or "Contacts" link for further infomration:
National Weather Service
NOAA PostersHere is some information about online locations or purchasing of NOAA-related posters:
The Government Printing Office (GPO) sells various National Marine Fisheries Service Posters, such as:
For information on other National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) posters, visit the NMFS web site and search the word poster in the search field.For additional information about or requests for NOAA posters, please contact NOAA Public Affairs Outreach section at:
NOAA Office of Public Affairs/Outreach
For information on other NOAA educational resources, see:
NOAA Recreation Association StoreNOAA's Recreation Association Store is located at the NOAA Silver Spring, Maryland campus, Building 2 (SSMC2) main level:
1325 East-West Highway
The store sells NOAA T-shirts, mugs, caps, and laptop bags, as well as tickets for special events, and miscellaneous gift items.
For further information on Government Employee Associations, see:
NOAA Silver Spring, MD campusSome information for those planning visits to the NOAA Silver Spring, MD campus:
Metrorail and Buses
The next closest public parking garage with more available spaces for public parking is:
NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service Administrators - Dates of service
NOAA Administrators - Dates of ServiceDates of service for NOAA Administrators, 1970 to the present, are:
Robert (Bob) M. White: December 1971 - July 1977 (White biographical info)*
NOAA Employee Awards (DOC medals)To find information on NOAA employees who have received Department of Commerce medals/awards, please see:
NOAA History Web site's Department of Commerce Medal Recipients page.
If you are looking for news stories on awards for a particular year, you may wish to visit NOAA Central Library for print versions of old NOAA-wide newsletters and/or online locations of old issues of:
If you have a specific year you want to check against the programs from the awards ceremonies, contact Michael Osver at the Department of Commerce, who maintains the programs from 1949 to the present:
NOAA General Counsels - Dates of serviceDates of service for NOAA General Counsels, 1971 to the present, are:
Raud Johnson: August 1971 - October 1972
NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service Administrators - Dates of serviceDates of service for NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service Administrators, 1970 to the present are:
Thomas S. Austin: 1970 - 1978
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Assistant Administrators - Dates of ServiceDates of service for National Marine Fisheres Service Assistant Administrators, 1970 to the present, are:
Philip M. Roedel: 1970 - 1973
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service History ResourcesNOAA Central Library Resources
NOAA Central Library's collection includes some historical publications about NMFS and its predecessor agencies. Please visit the NOAA Libraries' Catalog
In the Subject field, search for such terms as:
NOAA History web site's Stories and Tales of the Fisheries Service area - scroll to see the links.
NOAA History web site's History of the National Marine Fisheries Service
NOAA History web site's The Origins and Early History of the Steamer Albatross
NOAA Photo Library's National Marine Fisheries Historic Fisheries Collection albums
An Analytical Subject Bibliography of the Publications of the Bureau of Fisheries, 1871-1920 - By Rose M.E. MacDonald; Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, 1921 (Bureau of Fisheries Document No. 899)
Fishery Publication Index, 1920-54: Publications of the Bureau of Fisheries and Fishery Publications of the Fish and Wildlife Service by Series, Authors, and Subjects; Washington, DC: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1955.
Fishery Publication Index, 1955-64: Publications of the Fish and Wildlife Service by Series, Authors, and Subjects; Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, 1969
Fishery Publication Index, 1965-74; Washington, DC: NOAA National Maine Fisheries Service, 1977
Fishery Publication Index, 1975-79 - Lee C. Thorson; Seattle, WA: NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, 1981
Fishery Publication Index, 1980-85: Technical Memorandum Index, 1972-85; Seattle, WA: NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, 1987
Other NOAA Resources
2. If you are looking for officially retired federal records of NMFS or its predecessor agencies, they would be at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In NARA's Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, see:
Record Group 370: Records of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Record Group 22: Records of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
For further information about conducting research at NARA, see:
NOAA National Ocean Service Assistant Administrators - Dates of servicePrior to 1983, the National Ocean Service was called the National Ocean Survey. Dates of service for National Ocean Survey/National Ocean Service Assistant Administrators, 1970 to the present, are: Don A. Jones: October 3, 1970 - April 30, 1972
Allen L. Powell: May 4, 1972 - July 31, 1979
Herbert R. Lippold: July 31, 1979 - November 30, 1982
Paul Wolff: January 30, 1983 - July 7, 1988
Virginia Tippie: January 8, 1989 - November 4, 1991
Stanley Wilson: February 9, 1992 - June 2, 1997
Nancy Foster: June 2, 1997 - June 2000
Richard Spinrad: May 27, 2003 - September 30, 2005
John H. Dunnigan: January 22, 2006 - December 18, 2009
David M. Kennedy (Acting): December 21, 2009 - present (Kennedy bio)
NOAA National Weather Service Assistant Administrators - Dates of ServiceDates of service for Weather Bureau Heads/National Weather Service Administrators, 1870 - present, are:
General Albert J. Myer: 1870 - 1880
NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Assistant Administrators - Dates of serviceNote: In the 1970s and part of the early 1980s, the Office now known as the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) was called the Office of Research and Development.
Dates of service for the Assistant Administrators since it has been known as the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) are:
Joseph O. Fletcher: December 25, 1983 - ca. 1989
NOAA Program Planning and Integration Assistant Administrators - Dates of ServiceDates of service for Program Planning and Integration Assistant Administrators, 2002 to the present, are:
Mary Glackin: 2002 - 2003 (Acting)
NOAA recordsFor information on NOAA's records at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), see this section of NARA's Guide to Federal Records:
Records of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 1860-1993
Related records in other record groups at NARA include:
For information on conducting research at NARA, see:
For information on records management policies and practices at NOAA, see:
Women and NOAAHere are some resources on the role of women in the workforce at NOAA and its predecessor agencies.
On the "History Makers" section of the NOAA 200th anniversary web site, there are profiles of ecologist/author Rachel Carson (who worked for the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries from 1935-1952) and Susan Solomon (a NOAA Senior Scientist who has done pioneering work on ozone depletion in the Antarctic)
The NOAA History site has a section on Women in the Weather Bureau During World War II
"Women Change the Face of the NOAA Corps" - NOAA Celebrating 200 Years of Science, Service, and Stewardship web site
"Evelyn Fields - A Career of Firsts" - NOAA Celebrating 200 Years of Science, Service, and Stewardship web site
"Women in the Workplace" - National Weather Service Goodland, KS Forecast Office web site
Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer* - National Geographic in the Field web site
Jane Lubchenco, the current NOAA Agency Administrator, is a marine ecologist and environmental scientist
You may also search "women" as a keyword in the NOAA Libraries' catalog
Fisheries(Note: See also the NOAA History section of this FAQs page for fisheries-related information on NOAA's history.)
Reference Sources on Fish SpeciesListed below are some helpful reference sources on fish species:
Marine Science and Technology Journals - bibliography and NOAA access informationAn annotated bibliography of Marine Science and Technology journals, compiled by two marine science librarians who are members of the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers (IAMSLIC), constitutes one of the chapters of Bowker's "Magazines for Libraries" (15th ed., 2006): pp. 706-714. This chapter is also available online in the Scholars Archive at Oregon State University.
It includes an introduction, lists of Basic Periodicals and Basic Abstracts and Indexes for the marine sciences, and an alphabetically arranged list of journal titles with bibliographic information and annotations about scope and topics covered.
Webster, Janet G. and Barbara A. Butler, Marine Science and Technology*, in Magazines for Libraries, 15th ed. RR Bowker, 206, pp. 706-714.
Users of NOAA Central Library's Web site will find links to full-text of many of these titles from the EJournals page or the NOAA Newsletters page.
Some journals may be available in hard copy only, and would not be listed on the EJournals page; search for any titles you don't see on the EJournals page in the NOAA Libraries' Catalog.
Names of and facts about Oceans and SeasHere are some resources which provide names of and/or facts about oceans and seas of the world:
Weather/Climate Data(Note: See also the NOAA History section of this FAQs page for weather-related information on NOAA's history.)
Atlantic and Caribbean Hurricane Season SummariesThe Atlantic and Caribbean hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. For end of season hurricane summaries, see:
National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) Worldwide Weather and Climate Events page.
Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season SummariesThe Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15th through November 30th. For end of season hurricane and tropical storm summaries, see:
National Hurricane Center homepage
Hurricane KatrinaHere are some recommended resources on Hurricane Katrina impact and recovery, including NOAA resources, other federal resources, Katrina imagery, and economic impact information:
National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) web site's Climate of 2005: Summary of Hurricane Katrina page
Hurricane Katrina: A Climatological Perspective: Preliminary Report
National Hurricane Center web site's 2005 Tropical Cyclone Archive: Hurricane Katrina Advisory Archive
Other Federal Resources
The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned - The White House, February 2006
A Failure of Initiative: Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina - U.S. Congress, House Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina (February 15, 2006)
A Performance Review of FEMA's Disaster Management Activities in Response to Hurricane Katrina - Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General - March 2006
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web site's Disasters and Emergencies: 2005 Hurricane Season page
FirstGov.gov web site's "Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office" page
NASA Hurricane Season 2005: Katrina (featured images)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms - Hurricane Katrina
Local Climatological Data Products"Local Climatological Data" resources provide climate information for major U.S. cities, showing hourly, 3-hourly, daily, and monthly values for temperature, relative humidity, snow/ice, precipitation, cloudiness, and wind speed/direction, and related information.
Please see NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) web site
If you need further assistance with accessing NCDC data, please contact the NCDC:
You could also contact your state climatologist to ask for this data. Please see:
American Association of State Climatologists*
National Weather Service Contact InformationTo submit a question or comment directly to a NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) expert, visit:
NWS Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services
For further information on NOAA's weather resources, you may wish to visit the National Weather Service homepage, or call NWS Headquarters: 301-713-0090.
To contact your local forecast office, see:
Past Weather (How to Research)
Look for the "Climate" category on the sidebar; select "Local" under that category. You will go to a page featuring different sorts of weather data for the area, with tabs for the following categories: Observed Weather, Climate Locations, Climate Prediction, Climate Resources, Local Data/Records, Astronomical Data, and "NOWData". The NOWData tab is especially useful in leading you to a variety of weather fields you can combine:
After selecting the desired radio button under each category, select "Go" to generate your results.
As noted above, some NCDC resources are free, while others bear a cost. You may also contact your nearest Federal depository library to find out if it has a subscription to NCDC resources of interest which you may be able to use at that library.
Or contact your State Climatologist*.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind ScaleNOAA Resources
NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) began using a new hurricane scale in early 2010, called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. For information on how it differs from the earlier Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, see:
NOAA National Weather Service to Use New Hurricane Wind Scale: Storm Surge and Flooding Prediction Dropped in New Scale" - Feb. 17, 2010
Please see NOAA NWS Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center web site's Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale page for links to updated documents.
Weather GlossariesNOAA National Weather Service Glossaries
NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) glossary contains information on more than 2,000 terms, phrases, and abbreviations used by NWS.
Some of the National Weather Service's programs have their own glossaries which focus on their subject areas, for example:
Visit the NWS office or program of interest to see if their web site might offer a glossary, or search 'glossary' in the NWS web site's search engine, and browse the results.
American Meteorological Society (AMS) Glossary
Note: A browseable 1999 version of the AMS Glossary of Atmospheric Terms is also available online at: