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NOAA News Releases 2004
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NOAA, the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a science-based agency with nearly 12,500 employees across the nation who work each day to preserve the nation’s natural resources, protect the lives and property of its citizens and support the economy.

The agency conducts research and gathers data about the global oceans, atmosphere, space, and sun, and applies this knowledge to science and service supporting the nation. NOAA provides weather information, conducts research on climate on the land, in the air and oceans, warns of dangerous weather, charts the seas and guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources. NOAA’s services are involved with about 30 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, about $3 trillion of America’s economy.

“NOAA is where science gains value for the nation,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Americans look to NOAA for an incredible variety of services and support ranging from the local weather forecast, for a sustainable supply of quality seafood, to the safe transport of millions of tons of waterborne cargo, to keep the ocean coastline safe and vibrant, and maintain detailed research on the climate from the frozen arctic to the depths of the oceans.”

Listed below are representative NOAA achievements under the Bush administration in 2004:

  • NOAA continued to exercise international leadership in the development of a coordinated, comprehensive, and sustained Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) including playing a key role in the developing the draft Strategic Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System.
  • In partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, NOAA converted its Weather Radio program into an all-hazards warning system. Through WARN, the NOAA Weather, Alert and Readiness Network, alerts can be delivered nationally, regionally or locally, giving DHS a strengthened capability to send emergency messages to national and targeted populations with minimum delay.
  • The 3,000,000th Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) was downloaded in July 2004. NOAA ENCs are perhaps the most critical component of NOAA's suite of navigation tools.
  • NOAA successfully partnered with more than 500 community groups to restore more than 3,700 acres of habitat. Since 2001, NOAA has restored 11,000 habitat acres and opened 555 stream miles, with goals of 30,000 acres restored and 13,000 miles opened over the next five years.
  • NOAA led hundreds of government and university scientists from across the country and in western Europe to sample the quality of the air this summer in the largest air quality and climate study to date as part of the International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation. Part of that study concentrated on the Northeast in the New England Air Quality Study.
    The 2004 status of stocks report showed that 10 stocks were taken off the overfished list as they continue to rebuild; six stocks were taken off the overfishing list, and four stocks were declared fully rebuilt.
  • NOAA correctly predicted an above normal hurricane season. The agency’s five-day forecasts were better than three-day forecasts ten years ago, saving untold lives. NOAA’s response before, during and after the hurricanes earned praise from Congress in resolutions passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  • NOAA aircraft logged over 475 flight hours, flew more than 100,000 nautical miles of track lines, and deployed over 1,200 dropsondes into storms during the 2004 hurricane season.
  • NOAA initiated Storm Surge Quick Look before the hurricane season to give emergency managers real-time graphical information on potential storm surges.
  • NOAA’s Search And Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System aided in rescuing over 220 lives in U.S. waters and across the country.
  • NOAA commissioned the U.S. Climate Reference Network (CRN), which now contains 70 stations across the U.S. reducing scientific uncertainty on long-term temperature and precipitation trends has been reduced from 5 percent to 3.5 percent for temperature, and from 16 percent to less than 10 percent for precipitation.
  • NOAA began issuing Air Quality Forecasts for the Northeastern United States as part of a joint project with the Environmental Protection Agency and will implement the forecasts nationwide over the next few years.
  • NOAA increased its number of active research and survey ships from 15 to 17, acquired two additional former Navy ships for conversion, and reduced the average age of its fleet from 33.6 years to 28.2 years.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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