Includes natural changes (cyclic variability, volcanic eruptions, solar output) and human-caused changes (due to GHG emissions and land use changes)
2013 Draft National Climate Assessment
February 10, 2013
Global climate is changing, and this is apparent across the U.S. in a wide range of observations. Rising temperatures, changes in precipitation and extreme events and their causes and impacts on society and the environment are chronicled in the 2013 National Climate Assessment. A team of over 240 experts compiled the report, which is open for public comment through April 12, 2013.
Climate normals are the average values of meteorological parameters -- such as temperature, precipitation, frost/freeze data, and snowfall data -- over 30-year spans. The climate normals data help describe typical climate conditions for a given place and time of year, and are used as a baseline to which current conditions can be compared.
This interactive shows the extent of the killing of lodgepole pine trees in western Canada. The spread of pine beetle throughout British Columbia has devastated the lodgepole pine forests there. This animation shows the spread of the beetle and the increasing numbers of trees affected from 1999-2008 and predicts the spread up until 2015.
In this video the Pentagon's focus on climate change is described as a significant factor as the military examines potential risks, strategic responses, and impacts of climate change on future military and humanitarian missions. In 2010, for the first time, the Pentagon focused on climate change as a significant factor in its Quadrennial Defense Review of potential risks and strategic responses.
In this activity about climate change on the Antarctic Peninsula, learners investigate environmental changes in the living and nonliving resources of Antarctic peninsula and the impact of these changes on AdÃlie penguin communities. The activity stresses the importance of evidence in the formulation of scientific explanations.
This video focuses on the science of climate change and its impacts on wildlife on land and in the sea, and their habitats in the U.S. There are short sections on walruses, coral reefs, migrating birds and their breeding grounds, freshwater fish, bees, etc. Video concludes with some discussion about solutions, including reduce/recyle/reuse, energy conservation, backyard habitats, citizen scientists.
This video introduces phytoplankton - the base of the marine food web, the source of half of the oxygen on Earth, and an important remover of CO2 from the atmosphere. The video also explains how satellites are used to monitor phytoplankton and how warming waters and acidification negatively affect phytoplankton.
In this learning activity, students use a web-based geologic timeline to examine temperature, CO2 concentration, and ice cover data to investigate how climate has changed during the last 715 million years.
In this audio slideshow, an ecologist from the University of Florida describes the radiocarbon dating technique that scientists use to determine the amount of carbon within the permafrost of the Arctic tundra. Understanding the rate of carbon released as permafrost thaws is necessary to understand how this positive feedback mechanism is contributing to climate change that may further increase global surface temperatures.