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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions received by the National Ocean Service on various topics.

Below are some of the questions we are asked most frequently, organized by theme. If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact us.

Can I use this image?

Most of NOAA's information is in the ‘public domain’ and CANNOT be copyrighted. Unless otherwise noted in the credit or caption of the item of interest, you may use it without express permission. The one exception are our videos, as they often use third-party copyrighted footage. Video, in other words, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. However, for most other content (e.g., our images, infographics, articles) you may use this material, but may not:

  • Claim it as your own (i.e., claiming copyright for federal information);
  • Use it in a manner that implies an endorsement or affiliation with the U.S. Government; or
  • Modify the content or misrepresent the content, and then present it as official government material.

Credit should be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Can I modify/crop infographics?

You are welcome to link to our infographics (provide thumbnails that link back to the originals on our website), but we ask that people not modify/crop our infographics. The reason is that these are official NOAA products. If people modify them, we can no longer vouch for the accuracy of the material. Moreover, if something changes that would affect the content of those infographics (which often happens), we update our graphics on our website... but over time the accuracy of the infographics that are reproduced/shared externally would decline.

If you are uncertain about usage of particular product on our website, please contact us.

How to cite National Ocean Service articles

The following are examples of how to cite articles on this website. Citation formats will vary based on your chosen style guide. Please note that we do not use author names for individual articles. When citing an article or resource from this website, use "NOAA" or spell out "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration" as the author.

Web Page with Known Publication Date. If a story has a listed publication or modification date on the page, cite as follows:

NOAA. What is eutrophication? National Ocean Service website, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/eutrophication.html, 10/05/17.

Web Page with Unknown Publication Date. If a story does not have a listed publication or modification date on the page, cite as follows:

NOAA. Historical Maps and Charts audio podcast. National Ocean Service website, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/podcast/july17/nop08-historical-maps-charts.html, accessed on 8/13/17.

The one program we had for this in Chesapeake, Virginia, is no longer active because the person running it on a volunteer basis has retired. We're not aware of any other NOAA programs of a similar nature.

Can you do my homework/research?

We do not have the staff or resources to help you research your topic. For answers to common ocean-related questions, you can search the National Ocean Service website; our Ocean Facts may be helpful as well. All content is in the public domain unless otherwise noted, and you may quote it in your schoolwork as long as you cite NOAA's National Ocean Service.

Can I talk to an expert for my school project?

NOAA does not have the staff or resources to provide informational interviews for school projects. We suggest contacting your public library or your county or university's cooperative extension service to find an expert on your topic.

Sea level rise resources

We do have a lot of resources online, however. Here are some that will help with your project:

Coral reef resources

The following links may be helpful for your school project:

Ocean acidification resources

Here are some resources that may be helpful to you related to ocean acidification:

Noise pollution resources

Here are a few resources that include webinars with questions and answers and other detailed infographics:

Scholarships, fellowships, internships

While NOAA's opportunities are not managed through one centralized process, a great place to start is NOAA's Student Opportunities portal, which lists many open scholarships, internships, fellowships, and other programs throughout the agency — and you can easily filter this list by audience and opportunity type.

Many opportunities for students and recent graduates are also posted on usajobs.gov as they become available, so it's worth checking back regularly.


NOAA offers many volunteering opportunities, including citizen science projects. Visit NOAA's volunteering portal for more information.

Job announcements

NOAA job openings are posted on usajobs.gov as they become available.

As a U.S. federal agency, we cannot publicize, advocate for, or promote non-federal programs, businesses, nonprofits, or personal projects. We are also prohibited from directly or indirectly implying endorsement of non-government programs and activities, and are prohibited by law in activities that involve solicitation of funds or direct/indirect lobbying.

NOAA does not name tropical storms. There is a strict procedure established by the World Meteorological Organization. For Atlantic hurricanes, there is a list of male and female names that are used on a six-year rotation. The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate. In the event that more than 21 named tropical cyclones occur in a season, any additional storms will take names from a backup list. Additional resources are available below.

By law, the U.S. Government is not able to accept unsolicited product recommendations or business proposals. This law guarantees that all companies are treated equally when competing for federal contracts. If you wish to respond to a federal contracting solicitation, you should visit the federal contracting portal here: https://sam.gov/. Not only will you find solicitations from NOAA, but from all federal agencies, which should save you some time.

We are also unable to provide feedback, advice, or help with unsolicited inventions, ideas, or plans.