b. Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.

This audio slideshow/video describes the Greenland ice sheet and the difficulties in getting scientific measurements at the interface between the ice and the ocean. It features the work of a researcher from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researcher. She gives a personal account of her work on the recent increase in melting of glaciers, the challenges of working in Greenland, and the reasons why so many climate scientists are looking there for answers to questions about climate change.

In this activity, students reconstruct past climates using lake varves as a proxy to interpret long-term climate patterns. Students use data from sediment cores to understand annual sediment deposition and how it relates to weather and climate patterns.

This audio slideshow examines the changes in the ecosystem that will occur to the Arctic due to increasing temperatures and disappearing sea ice.

This short video describes how the compression of Antarctic snow into ice captures air from past atmospheres. It shows how ice cores are drilled from the Antarctic ice and prepared for shipment and subsequent analysis.

In this video, a PhD Student from the University of Maine explains how ice cores are used to study global climate change.

This is a video overview of the history of climate science, with the goal of debunking the idea that in the 1970s, climate scientists were predicting global cooling.

This is a multi-faceted activity that offers students a variety of opportunities to learn about permafrost through an important sink and source of greenhouse gas (methane), about which most students living in lower latitudes know little.

In this video, students see how data from the ice core record is used to help scientists predict the future of our climate. Video features ice cores extracted from the WAIS Divide, a research station on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

This video from ClimateCentral looks at the way climate conditions can affect vegetation in the West, and what influence this has on wildfires. Drought and rainfall can have very different wildfire outcomes, depending on vegetation type, extent, and location.

This interactive displays how climate variables are changing over time (temperature, CO2, Arctic sea ice, solar flux, etc.) in graphical form. Students can examine data over the last 20 years or archived data.