This is the first of nine lessons in the "Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change" website. This lesson is an introduction to Earth's climate and covers key principles regarding Earth's unique climate, atmosphere, and regional and temporal climate differences.

This is an animated interactive simulation that illustrates differential solar heating on a surface in full sunlight versus in the shade.

This video describes what black carbon is, where is comes from, and how it contributes to sea ice melt and global warming.

This three-part, hands-on investigation explores how sunlight's angle of incidence at Earth's surface impacts the amount of solar radiation received in a given area. The activity is supported by PowerPoint slides and background information.

This 15-panel interactive from NOVA Online describes some of the factors (e.g., Earth's rotation and the sun's uneven heating of Earth's surface) contributing to the formation of the high-speed eastward flows of the jet streams, found near the top of the troposphere. These jet streams play a major role in guiding weather systems.

Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis

On September 27, 2013, Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its report to member governments for approval and acceptance. The report is the first of four that will make up the IPCC's 5th Assessment.

National Solar Radiation Database

The National Solar Radiation Database contains 30 years (1961-1990) of solar radiation and supplementary meteorological data, and hourly solar radiation and meteorological data for 237 National Weather Service sites in the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Also includes maps of the monthly amounts of solar power that could be generated with various solar collectors.

Surface Radiation Budget Network

Seven stations continuously collecting solar, infrared, meteorology, and ultraviolet radiation data are located in climatologically diverse regions of the U.S.—including Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.

Integrated Surface Irradiance Study (ISIS) Network

Solar and ultraviolet radiation (UV) data recorded from 1995-2001 for nine sites located in California, Florida, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Local Analysis and Prediction System (LAPS) Solar Energy Forecast

The LAPS system produces rapidly updated, high-resolution analyses and forecasts of solar radiation. The cloud analysis uses satellite, METARs, radar, aircraft, and model first guess information to produce an hourly 3-D field of cloud fraction, cloud liquid, and cloud ice. The cloud analysis and satellite data together are used to produce a gridded analysis of total solar radiation. 

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