Stephen Gill

Stephen Gill image
Location of Interview
Collection Name

NOAA Heritage Oral History Project


NOAA Heritage Oral History Project aims to document the history and legacy of NOAA through compelling interviews with its leaders. These firsthand accounts provide an invaluable resource that preserves NOAA's significant contributions to environmental research and management, fostering a deeper understanding of NOAA's vital role in shaping our understanding of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere.

Date of Interview

Molly Graham

Principal Investigator

Mr. Stephen Gill was born in Lake Placid, New York in 1948.  He earned his BS and MS in Oceanography from New York University School of Engineering and Science.  Gill came to work for NOAA in 1975 as an Oceanographer for the National Ocean Service.  From 1997 to his retirement in 2016, Mr. Gill served as Chief Scientist for NOAA/NOS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services.  

Scope and Content Note

Stephen Gill discusses how he began his forty year career at NOAA as a geodetic surveyor, measuring heights and developing tidal datum systems. He goes on to explain how this work led him towards working with tide gauges and water level measurements. Gill emphasizes the significance of accurate measurements for things like navigation, charting, and comprehending sea level changes and stresses the importance of NOAA's mission in saving lives, preventing disasters, and supporting the economy. 

He describes his active involvement in diverse projects, highlighting his contributions to the development of the National Water Level Observation Network and the International Great Lakes Datum. Gill elaborates on his role within the NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), as well as his valuable contributions to the NOAA Climate Program Office. He recounts serving on review panels, evaluating funding proposals, and actively participating in the Global Ocean Observing System Program. Additionally, he mentions his contribution to reviewing draft chapters for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, specifically focusing on sea-level rise and extreme events. Gill also discusses his involvement in developing training modules, preparing internal reports, and collaborating with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Corps of Engineers to assess the potential risks of sea-level change on U.S. military facilities worldwide.


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The NOAA mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The Voices Oral History Archives offers public access to a wide range of accounts, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.

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