About Us


The mission of the NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL) 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.


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

Collaboration Across ESRL

PSL’s collaboration across the Earth System Research Laboratories brings together 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 Laboratory,
  • Helps explain trends and changes in the environment observed by the Global Monitoring Laboratory, 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 Laboratory.


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 of the Earth System Research Laboratory. 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.

On April 2, 2020, NOAA designated the four divisions of the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder as full laboratories within the NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research line office to meet recent shifts in mission-essential priorities. The Physical Sciences Laboratory and the three other laboratories retained their core research missions, and continue to collaborate closely with each other and other NOAA Research laboratories to improve understanding and ability to predict changes in Earth’s atmosphere, climate and weather.