The climate where you live is called regional climate. Global climate is a description of the climate of a planet as a whole, with all the regional differences averaged.
Warming of the Polar Regions
While global average temperature has risen 1°C (1.8°F) above the 1950-1980 average, our planet's polar regions are experiencing warming at a faster rate than other places.
Why Earth Is Warming

Over more than a century, global average temperature warmed 1.5°F (0.8°C). Learn the science of why this has happened, and what the future hold. 

Temperature Will Rise: Climate models predict that Earth’s global average temperate will rise in the future. For the next two decades warming of about 0.2° Celsius is projected. If we continue to emit as many, or more, greenhouse gases, this will cause more warming during the 21st Century than we saw in the 20th Century. During the 21st Century, various computer models predict that Earth’s average temperature will rise between 1.8° and 4.0° Celsius (3.2° and 7.2° F).

energy choices
Help the Joules family make choices that keep their greenhouse gas emissions low.
Why Does Climate Change?
Factors that have the power to change global climate can be natural, like volcanic eruptions and changes in solar energy, or caused by humans, like the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
El Nino
Learn how the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate fluctuation affects weather around the world.
Visualizing Weather and Climate
With visualizations we can see the entire planet from all angles at once. We can see the invisible – such as water vapor in the atmosphere and the way air flows around the world.
How to Measure Global Average Temperature in Five Easy Steps
All you'll need is a planet, thousands of thermometers, and a million data points.
Why the Polar Vortex Keeps Breaking out of the Arctic
Why does the Polar Vortex keep breaking out of the Arctic? Surprisingly, warming global temperatures play a role.
Mountain lion
The American Southwest is becoming more prone to drought as Earth warms. How will the drier conditions affect mountain lions, the biggest cats in North America?
Sunny California Hasn't Been Very Sunny, Which Is Good for Stopping Drought
California is prone to drought. It's also prone to heavy precipitation. Learn what happened in 2017 when both were happening at the same time.
The Water Cycle and Climate Change
Water moves from place to place through the water cycle, which is changing as climate changes. Learn how the water cycle is changing as global temperatures rise. 

The tables below contain all of the items in the timeline above, organized by category: greenhouse gases, modeling, past climate, impacts of climate change, and climate reports. If you have suggestions for additions to this timeline of the History of Climate Science Research, please contact us.


Energy from the Sun that makes its way to Earth can have trouble finding its way back out to space. The greenhouse effect causes some of this energy to be waylaid in the atmosphere, absorbed and released by greenhouse gases.

Mosquito feeding on blood.
Vector-borne diseases are transmitted typically by the bite of an infected arthropod. Climate plays an important role in the seasonal pattern or temporal distribution of diseases that are carried and transmitted through vectors because the vector animals often thrive in particular climate conditions.
Sea ice and heat
Melting sea ice doesn’t cause sea level to rise because the ice is already in the ocean, but it does cause other changes to the planet. When sea ice melts, more sunlight is absorbed by the Earth, which causes more warming. It’s a vicious cycle. And here’s how it works.
The Impacts of Climate Change on Water and Ice

Warmer conditions are having an impact on our planet. The world's surface air temperature warmed 0.6° C (1.1°F) on average during the last century. This may not sound like very much change, but it is.

Climate Image Gallery

Photos, diagrams, and other images related to climate and climate change.

Climate Videos

Short video clips about climate - including paleoclimates, climate change and modeling climate.

Climate game and simulations
Test your knowledge with one of our games or gain a deeper understanding of climate through a simulation.
Climate Activities
From activities about evidence of climate change, to inquiries into current and future impacts, and explorations of the role of energy use in current climate warming.