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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 is a figure from the 2007 IPCC Assessment Report 4 on atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide over the last 10,000 years (large panels) and since 1750 (inset panels).

This video segment, from the 'Earth: The Operators' Manual' featuring climate expert Richard Alley, shows how ice cores stored at the National Ice Core Lab provide evidence that ancient ice contains records of Earth's past climate - specifically carbon dioxide and temperature.

This video discusses observations of two key warning signs of global change effects on the Southern Ocean: changes in Antarctic bottom water and ocean acidification.

This NOAA video discusses how the ocean absorbs the increased amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, thereby changing the pH and buffering action of the ocean. These changes in pH are impacting calcifying organisms, such as corals and shellfish, and related food chains and ecosystems.

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

Citizen scientist Anya, an indigenous Siberian girl, witnesses the changes in her community as a result of climate change after working with Woods Hole scientist Max Holmes' research team aboard her father's ship. She gets involved in collecting water samples to learn, and teach her schoolmates about, global warming.

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 interactive visualization provides a clear, well-documented snapshot of current and projected values of several climate variables for local areas in California. The climate variables include observed and projected temperatures, projected snowpack, areas vulnerable to flooding due to sea level rise, and projected increase in wildfires. The projected values come from expert sources and well-established climate models.

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

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.