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 short video segment Native Americans talk about climate change and how it impacts their lives as they experience unexpected changes in environmental conditions. They describe observed changes in seasonality, how these changes affect ecosystems and habitats, their respect for Mother Earth, and the participation of tribal colleges in climate change research projects.

This visualization shows in five steps how ice cores provide a measure of the temperature in the past.

This video describes why tropical ice cores are important and provide different information than polar ice cores, why getting them now is important (they are disappearing), and how scientists get them. The work of glaciologist Lonnie Thompson is featured, with a focus on his work collecting cores of ice from high mountain glaciers that contain significant data about past climate change.

This animated visualization represents a time history of atmospheric carbon dioxide in parts per million (ppm) from 1979 to 2016, and then back in time to 800,000 years before the present.

This activity introduces students to plotting and analyzing phenology data. Students use 30 years of data that shows the date of the first lilac bloom and the number of days of ice cover of nearby Gull Lake.

This video shows some of the most dramatic fluctuations to our cryosphere in recent years, using visuals created with a variety of satellite-based data.

This Changing Planet video documents scientists' concerns regarding how melting Arctic sea ice will increase the amount of fresh water in the Beaufort Gyre, which could spill out into the Atlantic and cause major climate shifts in North America and Western Europe. The video includes interviews with scientists and a look at the basics of how scientists measure salinity in the ocean and how ocean circulation works in the Arctic.

This short video shows an example of melting alpine glaciers in the Austrian Alps (Goldberg Glacier). Disappearing alpine glaciers have social and environmental impacts, including the decline of fresh water supplies and contributions to sea level rise.

These slide sets (one for the Eastern US and one for the Western US) describe how citizen observations can document the impact of climate change on plants and animals. They introduce the topic of phenology and data collection, the impact of climate change on phenology, and how individuals can become citizen scientists.

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