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 article and slide show from the New York Times, features several scientists from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who study the effects of thawing permafrost in Alaska.

In this video, students learn that scientific evidence strongly suggests that different regions on Earth do not respond equally to increased temperatures. Ice-covered regions appear to be particularly sensitive to even small changes in global temperature. This video segment adapted from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center details how global warming may already be responsible for a significant reduction in glacial ice, which may in turn have significant consequences for the planet.

In this short video from ClimateCentral, host Jessica Harrop explains what evidence scientists have for claiming that recent global warming is caused by humans and is not just part of a natural cycle.

This video features research conducted at University of Colorado's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, which studies isotopes of hydrogen trapped in ice cores to understand climate changes in the past.

This interactive shows the different components of the ocean biological pump, i.e., how carbon in the form of either plankton or particles moves into the ocean's depths. It illustrates the situation at the surface, 0-100 meters, 100-500 meters, and below 500 meters.

This animation illustrates how the hardiness zones for plants have changed between 1990 and 2006 based on an extensive updating of U.S. Hardiness Zones using data from 5,000 National Climatic Data Center cooperative stations across the continental United States.

This high-resolution narrated video shows levels and movements of CO2 globally through the course of a year.

This NASA animation of the Five-Year Average Global Temperature Anomalies from 1881 to 2009 shows how temperature anomalies have varied in the last 130 years. The color-coded map displays a long-term progression of changing global surface temperatures from 1881 to 2009. Dark red indicates the greatest warming and dark blue indicates the greatest cooling.

In this video scientists discuss possible rates of sea level rise, storms and resulting damage, rising temperatures and melting ice, and their collective effects on ecosystems.