In 1970, NOAA was officially recognized and all of its components were united under a common name and mission. One year later, NOAA's first administrator, Dr. Robert White, gave NOAA employees the choice of three designs to be the official emblem for the new agency.
The chosen design was made the official NOAA emblem later that year and remains the official emblem of the agency to this day.
About the winning design, Dr. White remarked that: "A white, gull-like form links the atmosphere to the sea or Earth. The Earth and atmosphere and the interrelationships between the two are, of course, major concerns of NOAA. The line defining the top of the gull's wings also resemble the trough of a foaming ocean wave against the blue sky. A creature of sea, land, and air, the gull adds an ecological touch to the Earth-sky motif."