NOAA 2006-060
Contact: Dave Miller
NOAA News Releases 2006
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NOAA released its statistics on economic impacts of agency products and services today. The publication provides a consistent set of economic statistics for NOAA management, as well as national policy makers and the general public.

“Knowing the economic impacts of NOAA’s programs helps us to communicate how effectively we are meeting our agency mission,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Through environmental stewardship, protection and observation, NOAA is making a significant impact on our nation and the world. NOAA safeguards life, property, the environment and our economy by observing and warning of dangers ranging from single-cell toxic algae to large-scale natural disasters that devastate entire regions.”

The economic study draws linkages between various activities within NOAA and the greater national and world economies. It is structured around three general areas: general economic and social impacts; contribution to U.S. income, employment and output; and coastal ocean economics, population, employment and benefits.

The 2006 edition outlines economic data on the impact of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, and data from new studies on hurricane impacts in general. Seven of the 10 most expensive hurricanes in U.S. history occurred in the 14 months from August 2004-October 2005: Katrina ($40.0 billion insured losses), Rita ($4.7 billion), and Wilma ($6.1 billion).

New data is also presented on coastal storms, tsunamis, and solar storms. This is particularly critical in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami disaster, and as the sun enters the peak activity of its 11-year cycle. Approximately 170,000 people were killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami, 100,000 missing and more than one million homeless. The estimated economic losses exceed $10 billion. From 1994 to 1999, $500 million in satellite insurance claims were the direct or indirect result of space weather.

Statistics in the new edition also highlight the value of NOAA's weather, climate and storm warnings and forecasts, including statistics on the value of forecasts to the utility and agriculture industries. U.S. electricity generators save $166 million annually by using 24-hour temperature forecasts to meet electricity demand by improving the mix of available generating units.

New statistical information is also available on the benefits of NOAA infrastructure, particularly in the categories of satellites and coastal ocean observing systems. Preliminary estimates of the potential economic benefits from new investments in regional coastal ocean observing systems in U.S. waters range from $500 million to $1 billion per year. This estimated amount is largely a result of improved information regarding coastal marine conditions. In addition, NOAA has provided significant updates to the previous year's statistics on fisheries and coastal contributions to the economy.

The fifth edition of "Economic Statistics for NOAA" is available online at:, or in printed form from NOAA Economics and Social Science at (301)713-3322 x182

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 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 the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.