Climate is the long-term prevailing pattern of temperature, precipitation and other weather variables at a given location, described by statistics, such as means and extremes. The climate includes conditions in the atmosphere and ocean, and is often described in terms of the intensity, frequency, and duration of severe and non-severe weather events. Over Earth's history, indications of climate change have been recorded in fossils and ice core samples. Climate change can result in extended periods of heat and drought at one extreme and extensive glaciation at the other. Current patterns in climate data show that our planet's global surface temperature is rising. This change is linked to the dramatic increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that has occurred over the past two centuries. Understanding climatic processes and the resulting impacts of a changing climate are important as every living organism on Earth is affected.
The collections under this theme are developed to improve Climate Literacy and to provide access to scientific information, which can inform personal decisions about actions that influence climate.