A total of 22 weather/climate disaster events impacted the United States in 2020, with losses exceeding $1 billion each. Drought, severe storms, tropical cyclones, and wildfires resulted in 262 deaths and significant economic impacts. For decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been preparing society to effectively respond to weather and climate-related hazards, reducing the loss of life, property, and disruption from high-impact events like the hurricane and wildfire seasons of 2020.
A Weather-Ready Nation informed by world-class weather research.
Finding, funding, and fostering collaborative weather and air quality research to discover, develop, and transition products, tools, and services for timely and accurate weather and air quality forecasts. WPO discovers, develops, and transitions products, tools, and services for world-class weather and air quality research by finding, funding, and fostering collaborative research within NOAA’s research laboratories and across the weather enterprise (i.e., NOAA, other Federal agencies and entities, state and local governments, academia and other not-for-profits, and the private sector). 
Accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) supported each of the office’s four goals:
  • Goal 1. WPO improved effective communication of weather information to strengthen decision-making and forecasting abilities through a mix of assessments and studies by enhancing the integration of social, behavioral, and economic science (SBES) into weather research and development and integrating SBES research findings into weather enterprise applications.  
  • Goal 2. WPO and partners advanced models and forecast tools to produce the best weather forecasts and warnings to build a Weather-Ready Nation by advancing the development and implementation of NOAA’s Unified Forecast System; beginning to advance Subseasonal-to-Seasonal forecasts; and improving severe weather prediction capability.
  • Goal 3. WPO and partners effectively and efficiently managed the advancement and transition of weather research into societal applications by advancing the development and transition of weather research to operations; ensuring operations and management processes were well-documented, maintained, and refined; and responding in a timely and effective manner to NOAA’s Congressional mandates.
  • Goal 4. WPO developed, supported, and promoted equal access to the opportunities WPO offers by recruiting and maintaining a diverse and highly qualified workforce and integrating diversity and inclusion as a core consideration throughout WPO’s funding mechanisms.