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 visualization, students can explore North American fossil fuel CO2 emissions at very fine resolutions of both space and time. The data is provided by the Vulcan emissions data project, a NASA/DOE funded effort under the North American Carbon Program.

This short, engaging video created by NASA presents a complex topic via a simple analogy. The idea of positive and negative feedback is demonstrated by Daisyworld - a world with black and white flowers growing on it.

This PBS video shows how Klaus Lackner, a geophysicist at Columbia University, is trying to tackle the problem of rising atmospheric CO2 levels by using an idea inspired by his daughter's 8th-grade science fair project. The video examines the idea of pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere via a passive chemical process.

This activity uses two interactive simulations to illustrate climate change, 1) at the micro/molecular level - modeling the impact of increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere on surface temperature and 2) at the macro level - modeling changes in glacier thickness and flow as a result of rising surface temperature.

This video addresses two ways in which black carbon contributes to global warming. When in the atmosphere, it absorbs sunlight and generates heat, warming the air. When deposited on snow and ice, black carbon changes the albedo of the surface. The video is effective in communicating about a problem frequently underrepresented in discussions of climate change and also public health.

Video presents a broad overview of what (NASA) satellites can tell us about how climate change is affecting oceans.

This interactive visualization from the NASA Earth Observatory website compares Arctic sea ice minimum extent from 1984 to that of 2012.

This is a collection of five short videos that show how climate change is affecting fishing, native populations and access for the oil and gas industry in the Arctic. The videos include personal reflections by writers Andrew C. Revkin and Simon Romero, scientists, and residents about their experience of the impacts of the climate change in the Arctic.

In this audio slideshow, an ecologist from the University of Florida describes the radiocarbon dating technique that scientists use to determine the amount of carbon within the permafrost of the Arctic tundra. Understanding the rate of carbon released as permafrost thaws is necessary to understand how this positive feedback mechanism is contributing to climate change that may further increase global surface temperatures.

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