How the Climate System Works

2013 continued a trend of water vapor in the surface atmosphere increasing over land and ocean relative to the 1970s, while the atmosphere over land becomes less saturated. 

November 2011

  • Phytoplankton productivity has increased 20 percent over the past decade as sea ice extent declines and more open water habitat is available.

  • During spring 2011, the Northern Great Plains experienced record flooding. This video explains how a La Niña climate pattern helped set the stage for this extreme event.