Welcome to the official Web site of NOAA's National Ocean Service.

Purpose and Organization

NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS) Web site provides information about the array of responsibilities, activities, and resources of NOS, as well as general information and resources about the ocean and coasts.

The site offers several categories of content. Under Explore, visitors can learn about the topics that are important to NOS and our nation and also about NOS's role in addressing these topics. Under Ocean Facts, visitors will find a collection of "frequently asked questions" about the ocean. Under the People of NOS section, visitors can read accounts of what it is like to work for the Ocean Service and get advice on pursuing a career in the ocean field, all directly from NOS staff.

Under Education, students and teachers can access online discovery kits, interactive mysteries, and case studies that cover ocean-related science topics related to the work of NOS. Teachers will also professional development resources, illustrative graphics, extensive resource lists, and lesson plans.

Visitors are encouraged to view the NOS news offerings. Under What's New, visitors can read updates of happenings around NOS. Feature stories provide background information and updates on NOS projects and programs. Visitors can also access NOS Press Releases and learn about NOS stories on the main NOAA Web site within the NOS on NOAA.gov section.

Within the Multimedia section, visitors can access NOS's two podcast series, Making Waves and Diving Deeper. Visitors can view Videos and Images in these respective galleries. Within the Fun and Entertainment section, visitors can access desktop wallpapers, play games, and find Widgets.

The NOS Offices section summarizes each of the 10 program and staff offices that make up the organization. Under Data Explorer, visitors can search and access many of the data products available from NOS scientists such as coastal aerial photography and geodetic control points. Under Web Sites, visitors can access all Web sites within the suite of NOS online offerings. The Outreach section lists materials produced by NOS to increase public awareness of NOS, its programs, and its projects. The Publications section access to publication pages maintained by NOS Program Offices. About NOS provides an overview of the organization itself, as well as access to online versions of the NOS Annual Report.

We hope you will enjoy the NOS Web site and will find the information provided here helpful.


Every attempt has been made to make this site compliant with Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, we have provided a link to a detailed Site Index on every page. This index provides a direct link to most pages in the site for simple text navigation. Pages that are not listed in the index are supplement pages in the education section that are enlarged views of images and illustrations in the educational tutorials.

Please notify us of any specific accessibility problems that you encounter, or any suggestions you might have on how we could improve the site's access. Please email these comments and suggestions to: nos.web@noaa.gov.

Editorial Policy

This site is managed by the National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. As a federal government site, all federal editorial policies apply, such as those on privacy, copyright, commercial promotion, etc.

Materials posted on this site are reviewed by NOS professional staff prior to publishing. Final decisions are made by the site's editorial board. All material on the site resides in the public domain and can be freely distributed. Use of appropriate photo and image credits is requested.

Technical Information

Access Time. Some pages on this site contain numerous images. The images provide necessary visual supplements for the text and enhance the visual appeal of the page. All images have been provided with captions to allow those users who cannot load images immediately to select specific images for viewing. Pages have been developed to load text first.

Links. Links are provided to many external Web sites, chiefly other NOS Web sites, as reference or supplemental material. External sites that are accessed by these links will launch a new browser session in a single, separate browser window. Each external site that is accessed will appear in this same browser window until the window is closed. A limited number of links to non-U.S. government sites are included. Users are notified that they are leaving a U.S. government Web site by a separate page that appears on screen for approximately 20 seconds.

Fonts and Type Sizes. Verdana is the default font for this site; 10 point is the default size. All browsers allow users to select specific fonts and type sizes for display. Some users select large type sizes for ease of reading, or specific fonts for personal tastes. The text and layout should not be adversely affected by a user's selection of alternative fonts and type sizes.

Printing Pages. This site has been designed to ensure simple printing. We recommend printing in landscape format at a scale of 100 percent. Printing in portrait format at 100 percent may result in some parts of the extreme right side of a page being cut off. For printing in portrait format, we recommend printing at a scale of 90 percent.

Downloadable Documents. Some documents are available on this site as downloadable files in Portable Document Format (pdf). These files can be viewed on microcomputers equipped with recent versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Adobe Acrobat Reader can be downloaded for free.

There are some known issues with downloading PDF documents, particularly on Windows systems, due to conflicting changes in the way in which Acrobat Reader and various browsers talk to one another. But there is a simple work-around: if you right-click (Windows) or option-click (Macintosh) on the link, the entire file will be sent to your machine, and then you can open it off your own hard drive using Acrobat Reader.

Navigation. Navigation through the site is straightforward. There are four levels of navigation. The first level is access to the major sections of the site is at the top of each page in two rows under the NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) banner. Pull-down menus provide access to specific parts of those sections. The second level is in the right hand column which generally includes links to external NOS Web sites for complementary information. The third level is within-page navigation found at the top of some pages that includes links to sections within the page. The fourth level includes text links within page content. These links take the user to external links related to the topic of the page or to supplement pages within the NOS Web site.

Index and Search This Site. A link to the site index and the search box appear on every page. The Site Index is a complete listing of every page on the site and includes links to each of those pages. Search is a standard word/phrase search capability for all text and documents (pdf) on the site's pages.

Advanced Features. To view the video feature Wavebreaking News, users will need either QuickTime or Windows Media Player software. A T-1 or cable modem connection is highly recommended. For users with slower Internet connection speeds, smaller file-size and window-size versions of Wavebreaking News are available. Please be patient while waiting for the video to download.

For Further Information

For questions or comments about the technical aspects of this site, email: nos.web@noaa.gov. For questions or comments about the content on the site, email: nos.info@noaa.gov.