NOAA Education



This material is archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit our new format website for current education resources.

Climate Change and Our Planet

      These items are designed for the teacher to use in the classroom or as background reference material.

      Categories of educational information on this page:









    • The Climate TimeLine Information Tool Weather and climate are always in flux, always changing. At times the changes can be sudden and dramatic, while on other occasions the changes are subtle and occur over long periods of time. What are the primary causes and effects of these changes? How do they relate to our everyday lives and to human history? These and other questions are explored in the Climate TimeLine. The Climate TimeLine uses 1) meteorological and climatic processes and 2) specific climate events of the past. This site has been selected by NSTA as a SciLinks site.

    • Sun-Wise School Program - NOAA partnered with the U.S. EPA to help educators raise sun safety awareness. EPA has developed the SunWise School Program, a national education program for grades K-8. SunWise Partner Schools sponsor classroom and schoolwide activities that raise children's awareness of stratospheric ozone depletion, UV radiation, and simple sun safety practices. SunWise is a collaborative effort of schools, communities, teachers, parents, health professionals, environmental groups, meteorologists, educational organizations, and others. With everyone's help, sun protection can grow beyond classrooms to the entire community.

    • El Niño Theme Page - El Niño is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the Tropical Pacific Ocean having important consequences for weather and climate around the globe. NOAA has primary responsibilities for providing forecasts to the Nation, and a leadership role in sponsoring El Niño observations and research. This home page addresses some of the following topics: What is La Niña? What is El Niño?; The Impacts and Benefits of El Niño; 1997-1999 Information; Forecasts; List of impacts and prediction benefits; and 3D Animation.

    • Climate Prediction Center - The Climate Prediction Center serves the public by assessing and forecasting the impacts of short-term climate variability and emphasizing enhanced risks of weather-related extreme events. Educational materials include information on the ENSO cycle, and fact sheets and monographs.

    • Frequently Asked Questions about Global Warming - This site can answer many questions about global warming, including: What is the greenhouse effect, and is it affecting our climate? Are greenhouse gases increasing? Is the climate warming? Are El Niños related to Global Warming? Is the hydrological cycle (evaporation and precipitation) changing? Is the atmospheric/oceanic circulation changing? Is the climate becoming more variable or extreme? How important are these changes in a longer-term context? Is sea level rising? Can the observed changes be explained by natural variability?

    • The National Climatic Data Center - This web site is a pathway to connect with both national and global climate data sets used by the government and the private sector. The Center has a statutory mission to describe the climate of the United States and it acts as the Nation's scorekeeper regarding the trends and anomalies of weather and climate. NCDC's climate data is used in a variety of applications including agriculture, air quality, construction, education, energy, engineering, forestry, health, insurance, landscape design, livestock management, manufacturing, recreation and tourism, retailing, transportation, and water resources management. The Center's web site lists a number of educational links.

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    • A Paleoclimatological Perspective On Global Warming - Paleoclimatology is the study of past climate. This web site features information about global change, global warming and more from the National Geophysical Data Center.



    • The Arctic Theme Page - The education pages for this site include many educational resources. For example, you can find information on tracking the location of the North Magnetic Pole, what kind of research is done by arctic submarines, the location of a virtual classroom, how to understand latitude, and the page includes a polar climate section for young children.

    • The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is a federal information and referral center supporting polar and cryospheric research with information on snow cover, avalanches, glaciers, ice sheets, freshwater ice, sea ice, ground ice, permafrost, atmospheric ice, paleoglaciology, and ice cores. Though the data products are targeted for the science research community, education resources for teachers and students are available. (This is a not a U.S. Government website. NOAA is not responsible for the content of external internet sites).

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      Observations are fundamental to describing, understanding and predicting the Earth's climate system. NOAA gathers, analyzes and archives data from the oceans, atmosphere and land surfaces from different parts of the globe.
      NOAA's mission is to understand and predict the oceans and atmosphere on timescales from minutes to centuries. To accomplish this goal, NOAA has deployed an array of global sensors that work together to provide data needed by scientists. These complementary systems, with information about the global oceans and atmosphere, operate at different altitudes with different instruments and include:

    • Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites - NOAA has two GOES satellites that monitor the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific Ocean from goestationary orbit 35,800 kilometers (22,300 miles) above the equator. Because they stay above a fixed spot on the surface, they provide constant vigil for the atmospheric "triggers" for severe weather conditions like tornadoes, flash floods, hail storms, and hurricanes. To learn more about Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites and to access real time images, click here.

    • Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites - NOAA's two operational polar orbiting satellites scan the entire earth once every six hours from altitudes of about 850 kilometers (529 miles). Because of their polar orbiting nature, the POES series satellites are able to collect global data on a daily basis. Data from the POES series supports a broad range of environmental monitoring applications including weather analysis and forecasting, volcanic eruption monitoring, forest fire detection, search and rescue, and many other applications. To see a menu of products from the Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites click here.

    • Air Platforms - NOAA Aircraft have a rich history of investigating hazardous weather which has led to better prediction of hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter storms. NOAA is also investigating a new generation of unmanned aeronautical vehicles (UAVs) to provide accurate vertical soundings of atmospheric conditions and chemical composition to complement the satellite sensors. To learn more about NOAA aircraft click here.

    • Surface and Submarine Platforms - NOAA ships have explored the ocean surface and plumbed its depths. NOAA, along with several other organizations, is now deploying an innovative array of Argo "floats" that descend several thousand meters into the ocean and then rise again to measure temperature, salinity, and ocean current. Several years ago, NOAA deployed the TAO/TRITON array of buoys in the tropical Pacific that helped to predict the El Niņo/La Niņa cycle. To learn more about the Argo "floats" click here (this is a not a U.S. Government website. NOAA is not responsible for the content of external internet sites) and to learn about the TAO/TRITON array click here.

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    • Satellite Information for Educators - Information for teachers, students and the general public can be found by clicking here.

    • Global Observation Methods - A letter-sized poster in pdf format can be found by clicking here.

    • Where in the World is Tomorrow Now? - To see where it's already tomorrow, click here.

    • Educational Atmospheric Science-Related Information can be found here. (This is a not a U.S. Government website. NOAA is not responsible for the content of external internet sites).

    • Satellite-Based Activities and Images based on can be found by clicking here. You'll need to download Flash Player, which is available at the site.

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    Publication of the NOAA Education Team.
    Website Owner: NOAA Office of Education,
    National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    United States Department of Commerce

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    Last Updated: November 30, 2010