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.

In this activity, students use authentic Arctic climate data to unravel some causes and effects related to the seasonal melting of the snowpack and to further understand albedo.

This short video, adapted from NOVA, explains how Earth's position relative to the Sun might be responsible for the dramatic shift in the climate of what is now the Saharan nation of Djibouti.

This animation depicts real-time wind speed and direction at selected heights above Earth's surface, ocean surface currents, and ocean surface temperatures and anomalies.

This NOAA visualization on YouTube shows the seasonal variations in sea surface temperatures and ice cover from 1985 to 2007. The visualization is based on data collected by NOAA polar-orbiting satellites. El NiÃo and La NiÃa are easily identified, as are the trends in decreasing polar sea ice.

An interactive simulation of Earth's seasonal dynamics that includes the axial tilt and other aspects of Earth's annual cycle.

This is part of a larger lab from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln: http://astro.unl.edu/naap/motion1/motion1.html

This short video, the sixth in the National Academies Climate Change, Lines of Evidence series, explores the hypothesis that changes in solar energy output may be responsible for observed global surface temperature rise. Several lines of evidence, such as direct satellite observations, are reviewed.

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.

In this activity students learn how Earth's energy balance is regulating climate. This activity is lesson 4 in the nine-lesson module Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change.