Guide to Federal Records

Records of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]


(Record Group 370)
1860-1993 (bulk 1954-93)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 370.1 Administrative History
  • 370.2 General Records of the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) 1965-74
  • 370.3 Records of the Weather Bureau, ESSA 1946-51, 1962-72
    • 370.3.1 Records of the Overseas Operations Division
    • 370.3.2 Records of the Weather Analysis and Prediction Division
    • 370.3.3 Records of the Central Regional Office (Kansas City, MO)
    • 370.3.4 Records of the Pacific Regional Office (Honolulu, HI)
  • 370.4 Records of the Institute for Environmental Research, ESSA 1958-69
  • 370.5 General Records of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1966-80
    • 370.5.1 General Records
    • 370.5.2 Records of the Office of Administration
    • 370.5.3 Records of the Office of Public Affairs
  • 370.6 Records of the National Weather Service 1954-80
  • 370.7 Records of the Northwest Regional Office (Seattle, WA) of the National Marine Fisheries Service 1960-76
  • 370.8 Records of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service 1928-87
    • 370.8.1 General records
    • 370.8.2 Records of the National Climatic Center
  • 370.9 Records of the National Ocean Service 1860-1976
  • 370.10 Records of the Pacific Marine Center (Seattle, WA) 1975-76
  • 370.11 Textual Records (General) 1946-93
  • 370.12 Cartographic Records (General) 1965-93
  • 370.13 Motion Pictures (General)
  • 370.14 Video Recordings (General) 1991-93
  • 370.15 Sound Recordings (General) 1977-92
  • 370.16 Machine-Readable Records (General)
  • 370.17 Still Pictures (General)

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370.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of Commerce by Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970, effective October 3, 1970, consolidating the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries.

Predecessor Agencies:

Meteorological functions:

  • Office of the Surgeon General, War Department (1818-70)
  • Smithsonian Institution (1847-70)
  • Office of the Chief Signal Officer, War Department (1870-90)
  • Weather Bureau, Department of Agriculture (1890-1940)
  • Weather Bureau, Department of Commerce (1940-65)
  • Weather Bureau, ESSA, Department of Commerce (1965-70)

Coast and geodetic survey functions:

  • Survey of the Coast, Department of the Treasury (1816-18)
  • Department of the Navy (coastal surveys, 1818-32)
  • Survey of the Coast, Department of the Treasury (1832-34)
  • Survey of the Coast, Department of the Navy (1834-36)
  • Coast Survey, Department of the Treasury (1836-78)
  • Coast and Geodetic Survey, Department of the Treasury (1878-1903)
  • Coast and Geodetic Survey, Department of Commerce and Labor (1903-13)
  • Coast and Geodetic Survey, Department of Commerce (1913-65)
  • Coast and Geodetic Survey, ESSA, Department of Commerce (1965-70)

Commercial fishery resource functions:

  • Office of U.S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries (1871-1903)
  • Bureau of Fisheries, Department of Commerce and Labor (1903-13)
  • Bureau of Fisheries, Department of Commerce (1913-39)
  • Bureau of Fisheries, Department of the Interior (1939-40)
  • Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior (1940-56)
  • Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior (1957-70)

Functions: Administers the following services: National Weather Service (meteorological observation, forecasting, and reporting); National Marine Fisheries Service (commercial fish and marine mammal resource development and conservation); National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (operation of National Climatic Data Center, National Geophysical Data Center, and National Oceanographic Center); and National Ocean Service (coast and geodetic surveys). Administers the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (operation of oceanographic, meteorological, environmental, and geophysical research laboratories).

Finding Aids: Preliminary inventory in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Related Records:
Records of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, RG 22.
Records of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, RG 23.
Records of the Weather Bureau, RG 27.
Records of the Hydrographic Office, RG 37.

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370.2 General Records of the Environmental Science Services
Administration (ESSA)
1965-74

History: Established in the Department of Commerce by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1965, effective July 13, 1965, to oversee, and to provide administrative support to, the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Weather Bureau. Abolished and superseded by NOAA, 1970. See 370.1 and 370.5.

For administrative histories of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Weather Bureau, and their predecessors, see RG 23 and RG 27.

Textual Records: Selected central files, 1965-70. Pre-publication copies of organization manuals, 1965-70. Records relating to the establishment of NOAA, 1969-70.

Photographs: Color and black & white prints mounted in scrapbooks, with associated slides and negatives, relating to an experimental weather monitoring project in Dakar, Senegal, 1974 (G, GT: 1,571 images).

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370.3 Records of the Weather Bureau, ESSA
1946-51, 1962-72

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370.3.1 Records of the Overseas Operations Division

Textual Records: Records relating to polar operations, consisting of office files of Charles L. Roberts, Jr., Assistant for Polar Operations, 1965-69; arctic station reports, 1966-67, and messages, 1970; and antarctic station reports and messages, 1965-70. Personnel records, 1946-51, of Col. Charles J. Hubbard, arctic explorer, killed in an air crash near Alert, Ellesmere Island, Canada (August 1, 1950).

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370.3.2 Records of the Weather Analysis and Prediction Division

Maps: Northern Hemisphere synoptic weather maps, July-December 1965 (184 items); and microfiche copies of supporting data tabulations, 1965-71 (2,175 items). Daily surface weather maps, North America, July-December 1965 (1,472 items). Daily surface weather maps, United States, 1965-69 (1,630 items). See also 370.11.

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370.3.3 Records of the Central Regional Office (Kansas City, MO)

Textual Records (in Kansas City): Decimal correspondence, 1965. Clippings file, 1966-69. Closed station history files, 1966-69. Storm reports, 1966-69.

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370.3.4 Records of the Pacific Regional Office (Honolulu, HI)

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Program correspondence and reports, 1964-72. Climatology program records, 1962-69. Records concerning Mauna Loa Observatory, 1963-66.

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370.4 Records of the Institute for Environmental Research, ESSA
1958-69

Textual Records: Subject files of the Polar Meteorology Group, 1958-69.

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370.5 General Records of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration
1966-80

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370.5.1 General records

Textual Records: Selected central files, 1970-72.

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370.5.2 Records of the Office of Administration

Textual Records: Administrative support centers' organization manuals, 1965-84, directives manuals, 1983-88, and service handbooks, 1984-88. Environmental Data Service issuances, 1965-85. National Weather Service operations manual issuances, 1974-89.

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370.5.3 Records of the Office of Public Affairs

Motion Pictures: Public information films, mostly dealing with fishing and other marine activity, 1970's (103 reels).

Video Recordings: "Seafood--The Great American Catch," n.d.(1 item).

Color Photographs: Captioned color slide images of satellite-launchings, the Columbia River fisheries project, life in Antarctica, commercial fishing pursuits, and water recreational activities, ca. 1966-80 (S, 225 items).

Photographic Negatives: Mostly black-and-white portrait images of high-level NOOA and ESSA personnel, 1966-78 (P, 196 items).

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370.6 Records of the National Weather Service
1954-80

History: Weather Bureau assigned to NOAA by Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970, effective October 3, 1970. Redesignated National Weather Service by Department of Commerce Organization Order 25-5A, effective October 9, 1970.

Textual Records: Records of the Overseas Operations Division, consisting of personnel records, 1968-72, of Bennie P. Lightsy, a meteorological technician murdered at the Arctic Ocean Drift Station, T-3, Fletcher's Ice Island (July 16, 1970).

Maps: Daily surface weather maps of the United States, 1965-72 (155 items). See also 370.12.

Charts: Hygrothermograph, ombroscope, barogram, and wind gust recorder charts ("Autographic Records") of the Blue Hill Observatory, Harvard University, Milton, MA, 1954-80 (ca. 156,000 items, in Boston). See also 370.12.

Related Records: Additional records of the Blue Hill Observatory in RG 27, Records of the Weather Bureau.

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370.7 Records of the Northwest Regional Office (Seattle, WA) of
the National Marine Fisheries Service
1960-76

History: Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, a component of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, transferred to newly established NOAA by Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970, effective October 3, 1970. Redesignated National Marine Fisheries Service by Department of Commerce Organization Order 25-5A, effective October 9, 1970.

For an administrative history of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and its predecessors, see RG 22, Records of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Textual Records (in Seattle): General records, 1960-76, including correspondence, memorandums, program files, and reports.

Photographs: Black & white and color prints and negatives relating to fish cultivation and research, 1967-74 (FG, 21,500 images), various aspects of the seafood industry, 1956-71 [bulk, 1966-70] (FG, 803 images), and FWS studies of marine life and commercial fishing operations (FG, 1100 images).

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370.8 Records of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and
Information Service
1928-87

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370.8.1 General records

Textual Records: Records concerning international groups and organizations, 1983-86. Meetings of LANDSAT working groups, 1981-87. Correspondence relating to the World Meteorological Organization, 1961-76.

Photographic Prints and Lantern and Color Slides: Activities of the National Operational Meteorological Satellite System, including early rocketry, Tiros and Nimbus Projects, and satellite images of meteorological and geographical features, 1948-70 (MSP, MSL, MSS: 5,019 images).

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370.8.2 Records of the National Climatic Center

Textual Records: Meteorological records, collected or acquired by the National Climatic Center and its predecessor, the National Weather Records Center, between 1951 and 1979, of the First Byrd Antarctic Expedition ("BAE I"), 1928-30; the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition ("BAE II"), 1933-35; the U.S. Antarctic Service, 1939-41; and the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition, 1947-48.

Related Records: Additional records of the U.S. Antarctic Service in RG 126, Records of the Office of Territories. Papers of Carl R. Eklund and Capt. Harold E. Saunders concerning the U.S. Antarctic Service; of Stevenson Corey, Alton A. Lindsey, James E. Mooney, Capt. Harold E. Saunders, and Paul A. Siple relating to the Byrd Antarctic Expeditions; and of Capt. Finn Ronne concerning the Ronne Antarctic Expedition, all in National Archives collection of donated materials.

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370.9 Records of the National Ocean Service
1860-1976

History: Coast and Geodetic Survey assigned to NOAA by Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970, effective October 3, 1970. Redesignated National Ocean Survey by Department of Commerce Organization Order 25-5A, effective October 9, 1970. Further redesignated National Ocean Service, NOAA, 1983.

Machine-Readable Records: Marine Chart Division nautical topographic and hydrographic chart data base, 1970-76, with supporting documentation (625 data sets).

Photographs: Bureau activities, 1860-1965 (G), with an associated selected image reference file, 1900-52 (GV)(24,700 images).

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370.10 Records of the Pacific Marine Center (Seattle, WA)
1975-76

History: Functions as a field organization of the NOAA Corps.

Charts: Smooth sheet plots taken by NOAA surveying ships as part of the Outer Shelf Energy Program, 1975-76 (1,600 items, in Seattle). See also 370.12.

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370.11 Textual Records (General)
1946-93

Records relating to the Arabian Gulf Program, 1991-93. The "Peary Log" weekly bulletin of the U.S. Lake Survey vessel U.S.S. Peary, 1946. Records relating to the Interdepartmental Committee for Atmospheric Sciences, 1960-76. Reports and other records of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering Advisory to NOAA, 1968-73. Records of the Southwestern Fisheries Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1972-90._Records relating to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, 1966-75. Meeting transcripts of the National Fish and Seafood Promotional Council, December 1, 1987-November 22, 1991.Records relating to the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere, 1971-86. Records relating to the Ad Hoc Committee on International Policy in the Marine Sciences, 1967-69. Records relating to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, 1957-58. Records relating to meetings of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, 1967-69.

Administrator's Weekly Report, Office of the Administrator, 1971-80. Subject files concerning weather modification, Office of General Counsel, Office of the Administrator, 1970-84. Subject files of Albert A. Stanley, Executive Assistant to the Director of the National Ocean Survey (NOS) and Director of NS's organizational predecessor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS), 1954-72. Records of the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Services, including NOOA Industrial Meteorology News Clips newsletters, 1970-78; quarterly reports of the Special Assistant for Industrial Meteorology, 1970-78; records concerning the Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1978-79; and Environmental Division files concerning World Meteorological Organization meetings, 1958-72, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, 1959-72. Charters and related records concerning Fishery Management Councils, National Marine Fisheries Service, Fishery Management Operations Division, Office of Fisheries, NOAA, 1976-83. Records concerning the fishery management plan for groundfish, Fishery Management Operations Division, 1976-82. Office of Sea Grants records concerning sea grant review panel meetings, 1968-90, and related meetings and conferences, 1979-85. Subject files of the Assistant Administrator for Coastal Zone Management, 1972-76. Records of the NOAA Undersea Research Program, Special Research Program Office, including OceanLab Project case files, 1975-80; OceanLab diagrams and blue prints, 1977-78; and National Undersea Laboratory System-2 (NULS-2) feasibility studies, 1979. Office of International Affairs documentation includes records concerning research vessel clearances and related matters, 1962-77; records of meetings and conferences of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), 1965-75; WMO subject files, 1958-75; and Division of Marine Resources general records, 1950-77. Office of Policy and Planning records concerning the Interagency Committee on Marine Science and Engineering (ICMSE), 1971-78. Office of Management and Computer Systems, Telecommunications Management and Planning Division records of the National Environmental Communications Committee (NECOM), 1973-76.

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370.12 Cartographic Records (General)
1965-93

Maps and Charts: Record set, published by ESSA and NOAA, 1965-93 (ca. 70,000 items), including nautical charts (coastal charts of the United States, small craft charts, and bathymetric charts, with related indexes and catalogs); aeronautical charts (sectional, local, world, airport obstruction, en route low and high altitude, IFR and civil radar instrument approach procedure, standard instrument departure, VFR planning, VFR helicopter, radio facilities, controller, airport facility, and other charts, with related revision notices, indexes, and catalogs); and special purpose maps and charts (gravity, magnetic, storm evacuation, coastal zone, and seaward boundary). Lithoprint copies of nautical charts of the Pacific Northwest and California, originally engraved by the United States Exploring Expedition (Wilkes Expedition, 1838-42), prepared by the National Ocean Survey, ca. 1972 (26 items). National Shellfish Register annotated nautical charts, n.d. (732 items). "Drafts of Published U.S. Lake Survey Charts," (231 items) n.d. Latitude, longitude, and other navigational and positional computing files, marine, aeronautical, oceanographic charting files, and photogrammetric and hydrographic survey records, 1927-85 (11,340 items). Miscellaneous records relating to the Arabian Gulf oil spills, Gulf Program Office, 1991 (10 items).

See Maps under 370.3.2 and 370.6.
See Charts under 370.6 and 370.10.

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370.13 Motion Pictures (General)

See under 370.5.2.

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370.14 Video Recordings (General)
1991-93

Arabian Gulf program, Gulf Program Office, 1991-93 (3 items). Arabian Gulf oil fires, Gulf Program Office, 1992 (37 items).

See under 370.5.2.

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370.15 Sound Recordings (General)
1977-92

Public affairs radio series, "The Sea and the Air," 1977-79 (32 items). Arabian Gulf oil fires, Gulf Program Office, 1992 (11 items).

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370.16 Machine-Readable Records (General)

See under 370.9.

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370.17 Still Pictures (General)

See Photographic Prints and Lantern and Color Slides under 370.8.1.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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