Help NOAA predict, observe and protect our changing planet by making your own contributions toward a greater understanding of our Earth and its diverse systems. Whether it’s helping count whales in Hawaii or reporting on weather right outside your window, we’ve got a volunteer opportunity for you!
See these links below to our most popular citizen scientist programs or search this siteoffsite link (select NOAA under "Agency Sponsor") to find both national and local NOAA volunteer opportunities.
Trained storm spotters and long-term observers support NOAA’s mission of climate monitoring and protecting life and property through accurate weather and water forecasts and warnings.
- SKYWARN® Storm Spotter: Help keep your community safe by volunteering to become a trained severe storm spotter for NOAA's National Weather Service. There is even an easy-to-use online community reporting tool, NWS StormReporter, which promotes the rapid delivery of coastal storm damage information to emergency management personnel and others across New England.
- Daily Weather Observer: Join a national network of Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) volunteers who record and report weather and climate observations to the National Weather Service on a daily basis over the phone or Internet. The National Weather Service provides training, equipment, and additional support through equipment maintenance and site visits. Not only does the data support daily weather forecasts and warnings, but they also contributed toward building the nation’s historic climate record.
- Citizen Weather Observer Program Participant: Ham radio operators and other private citizens around the country can volunteer the use of their weather data for education, research, and use by interested parties as part of the Citizen Weather Observers Program.
- Precipitation Reporter: If you like to track rain, hail and snow, you may want to join the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), a nationwide community-based network of volunteers who measure and help map precipitation. NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory has a similar program, the Precipitation Identification Near the Ground project (PING), where you can report on the type of — but do not need to measure — precipitation you are encountering at any given time or location. PING volunteers can spend a little or a lot of time making and recording ground truth observations using the PING project website or mobile phone app.
- Ship Weather Observer: Crew members aboard ships report weather conditions over the open sea to NOAA's National Weather Service as part of the United States Voluntary Observing Ship Program.
NOAA also needs your help in analyzing historic weather and other environmental data:
- CycloneCenter.org: Climate scientists need your help classifying more than 30 years of tropical cyclone satellite images taken from the archives of NCDC’s Hurricane Satellite Data system. The existing global intensity record contains uncertainties caused by differences in analysis procedures around the world and through time. Scientists need help because patterns in storm imagery are best recognized by the human eye. After many people review the same image online, scientists will use their feedback to come up with a new global tropical cyclone dataset that will provide 3-hourly tropical cyclone intensity estimates, confidence intervals, and a wealth of other metadata that could not be realistically obtained in any other fashion.
- Old Weather Arctic Project: Since 2010, NOAA, National Archives and Records Administration, and other partners have been seeking volunteers to transcribe a newly digitized set of ship logs containing weather, sea ice and other environmental observations dating back to 1850 and the World War II era. The project will improve understanding of our global climate and appeal to a wide array of scientists from other fields – historians, genealogists, as well as current members and veterans of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.
Engage in NOAA’s management of living marine resources through conservation and the promotion of healthy ecosystems.
- Ocean Life Sampler: Work aboard a NOAA Fisheries Research vessel, such as the Northeast Fisheries Science Center's FSV Henry B. Bigelow, FSV Delaware II and RV Hugh R. Sharp.
- REEF Volunteer Survey Project Participant: Join SCUBA divers and snorkelers as they collect and report information on marine algae, invertebrates, and fish populations along the West Coast of the U.S. (and Canada).
- Coastal Life Sampler: Help researchers collect biological samples in the field, such as rocky intertidal and sandy beach data, as part of the LiMPETS network in California or at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s James J. Howard Laboratory in Sandy Hook, N.J.
- Humpback Whale Population Observer: Help collect important population and distribution information on humpback whales around the Hawaiian Islands.
- Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Guardian: Protect sea turtles and educate the public on respectful wildlife viewing.
- Ocean Advocate: Join the Ocean Conservation Education Action Network and become a member of Team OCEAN to promote the safe and enjoyable public use of the marine environment and advocate protection of natural resources in the Florida Keys, Monterey Bay, and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuaries.
Delve into the nation’s sanctuaries and estuaries to support NOAA’s pursuit to observe, understand, and manage our nation's coastal and marine resources.
- National Marine Sanctuary Volunteer: Naturalists, divers, and visitor center guides are just a few of the many volunteer opportunities with NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries.
- National Estuarine Reserve Volunteer: Event coordinators, research assistants, and educators are just some of the many more ways you can help NOAA in protecting our nation's coastal protected areas.
- Florida Keys BeachWatch Member: Help researchers and resource managers gather data on the occurrence - or absence - of coral bleaching, as well as basic environmental conditions of the reef.
- Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project Participant: Support coastal marine debris monitoring efforts used by researchers and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program to assess the impacts and risk posed by marine debris. There is even a free app, the Marine Debris Tracker Mobile Application, which allows you to easily report the type of debris and the location through GPS features pre-installed on your cell phone.
- Phytoplankton Monitoring Network Marine Plant Sampler: This NOAA initiative promoted a better understanding of harmful algal blooms with help from volunteers who sample local waters twice a month and identify the phytoplankton found.
- Sea Grant Participant: Administered through NOAA, this program engages the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training, and extension projects within coastal communities. By participating in the program, you can help promote a better understanding, conservation and use of America’s coastal resources.