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 11, 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.
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.
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.
This is an interactive map of California and the Sierra Nevada mountains, showing projected variations in water stored in snowpack, from 1950 to 2090, assuming low or high emission scenarios over that period of time. Interactive can be adjusted to show different months of the year and various climate models, graphed by site.
This short video, is the fifth in the National Academies Climate Change, Lines of Evidence series. It focuses on greenhouse gases, climate forcing (natural and human-caused), and global energy balance.