About PSD


The mission of the NOAA ESRL Physical Sciences Division (PSD) is to conduct scientific research to observe, understand, model, predict and forecast weather, water and climate extremes and their impacts.


An informed society that uses science-based environmental intelligence to effectively anticipate and respond to threats and opportunities related to weather, water and climate extremes

Research Goals

  • Rigorously characterize and predict weather, water, and climate extremes and their uncertainties to support NOAA's mission.
  • Develop new process understanding, observing, and modeling capabilities to predict conditions associated with too much or too little water for early warning, preparedness, resource management, and adaptation.
  • Improve monitoring and prediction of weather, climate, and water conditions impacting marine resources.


PSD will carry out research on climate and weather processes, diagnostics, modeling, empirical analyses, focused field observations, and supporting technology development.

Integration of PSD Within ESRL

The integration of PSD with ESRL brings together in the integrated expertise in weather and climate physical observations, modeling, analysis and applications. This central focus on physical process research:

  • Supports modeling, and computational and display systems development within the Global Systems Division,
  • Helps explain trends and changes in the environment observed by the Global Monitoring Division, and
  • Furthers understanding, diagnoses, and prediction of air quality on weather time scales to short-term climate scales and develop an improved understanding for the physical consequences of and interrelationships with current and future chemical states of the atmosphere in collaboration with the Chemical Sciences Division.


On October 1, 2005, the Climate Diagnostics Center, the Environmental Technology Laboratory, and the Aeronomy Laboratory's Tropical Dynamics & Climate Division merged into the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) of the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL). As part of the transition, the ETL Optical Remote Sensing Divison moved to the ESRL Chemical Sciences Division. This merger brought together a combined expertise in:

  • weather and climate dynamics, diagnostic and modeling analyses,
  • physical observations, monitoring and related technology development, and
  • physical process understanding and research, that will help ESRL meet critical NOAA objectives in climate and weather research.