Clouda against blue sky

At the National Center for Atmospheric Research, we don't forecast the weather. We get inside the weather, climate, and surrounding environment to understand it better.

All About Blizzards

A blizzard isn’t just any old snowstorm. It’s extreme winter weather. Watch and learn what makes these storms special.

An Invention to Turn Water Vapor Into Liquid Water

At the Australian Design Awards in 2011, Edward Linnacre describes his invention that turns water vapor in the air into liquid water on the ground and how useful this could be for farmers.

Animation of the Biosphere
This animation shows where and when photosynthesis happens around the world as the seasons come and go.
Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Animation
Animation showing the monthly variation of sea ice extent in the Antarctic from 2016 through 2018.
Arctic Sea Ice Extent Animation
Animation showing the monthly variation of sea ice extent in the Arctic from 2016 through 2018.
Arctic visualization

This video shows the interannual variation of the September sea ice concentration from the start of the satellite record in 1979 to 2020.

Two bottles with different contents to demonstrate storms.
This timelapse video is of a model of a sunny day and a stormy day using clear bottles with different contents. In Lesson 4 of the GLOBE Weather Curriculum, students have the option to create their own models, or they can use this supplemental video.
Boulder, Colorado Flood: How the City's Resilience Strategy Saved It
The 2013 intense week-long rainstorm could have been devistating for Boulder, Colorado, but thanks to city planning and floodplain management, the city fared relatively well.
Exploring different types of clouds
A short introduction to the different types of clouds, where they form in the atmosphere, and their shapes.
Convection demonstration
This video shows convection happening as a model to partially explain the movement of air around the Earth.
Coral for Studying Past Climate Video
This video describes how climate scientists use "proxy data", such as the information stored in coral, to study climates of the past.
Drip Drop

Chill out with Drop & the Drippettes as they groove on glaciers, hop in the ocean, get soaked in the flood zone, dehydrate in the desert, and party with a polar bear

Dropsonde Animation from NOAA
Short animated video showing instrument packages called dropsondes being released from an airplane.
NASA's Global Hawk Robotic Research Aircraft
Video of NASA's Global Hawk robotic aircraft releasing dropsondes.
Dropsonde video from NSF/NCAR
Video showing dropsondes being released from aircraft and balloons to measure atmospheric properties at various altitudes.
Global Electric Circuit movie

Our electric atmosphere has a lot more to it than lightning and thunderstorms. Learn about Earth's Global Electric Circuit and its connection to Space Weather.

Flash Flood
A 2005 flash flood fills a West Virginia creek in seconds.
From Dog Walking To Weather And Climate
There is much more variation in the path that the dog takes as compared with the man, but they are both headed the same way. Similarly, weather can be highly variable and climate means long term trends.
Greenhouse Effect video - Scott Denning
Professor Scott Denning of Colorado State University explains how greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere warm our planet.
Hazardous Heat Waves

Heat waves are abnormally hot weather that occurs over a few days to several weeks, and climate change is making them worse. Watch and find out why heat waves are a hazard and what you can do to stay safe when they happen.

How Hail is Made in Storms

How do hailstones form, and why are some much larger than others? Watch to learn how hail can form during a thunderstorm.

Ice Cores for Studying Past Climate video
This video describes how climate scientists use "proxy data", such as the information stored in ice cores, to study climates of the past.
Is it Going to Snow?

Why is it so hard to predict when we’ll have a snow day? Find out what factors determine whether precipitation will fall as rain, sleet, or snow!

Lake-bottom Sediments for Studying Past Climate Video
This video describes how climate scientists use "proxy data", such as the information stored in layers of sediments from the bottoms of lakes, to study climates of the past.
Magnetic Field Lines Tangle as Sun Rotates movie
This short (13 seconds) animation shows how the Sun's magnetic field becomes tangled over time as the Sun rotates. This tangled magnetic field gives rise to sunspots and sometimes to solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
Density tank demonstration with red and teal liquid suspended in water.
A slow-motion video of cold fluid and warm fluid interacting to demonstrate what happens at a cold front.
Making Clouds

Clouds are made of water or ice crystals, but how do they form? Learn more about cloud formation and when it’s likely to happen

Meet a Hurricane

Learn what makes a hurricane a hurricane, as well as how these storms can cause damage from storm surge, heavy rain, and fierce winds.

Meet a Tornado

Learn what makes a tornado a tornado, and how these powerful storms can cause property damage and are a threat to our safety.

Model Simulation of Past, Present and Future Climate Change
This animation shows warming of the Earth's surface according to the results of climate model (called the NCAR Community Climate System Model) from 1870-2100.
Modeling Carbon Dioxide with a Bathtub

For more information about the "Climate Bathtub" model, as described by John D. Sterman and Linda Booth Sweeney:

No Two Hurricanes Are Alike

Did you know that a strong hurricane isn’t necessarily large in size? Hurricanes are called strong when they have high winds. The Saffir Simpson categories of hurricanes are based only on wind speeds. But there is more to hurricanes than wind speeds. There are other ways to describe hurricanes - for example, by the amount of rain and flooding they cause. When there is a hurricane or tropical storm heading towards the coast, get to know all about it to learn what hazards it could cause.

Ocean on the Move: Thermohaline Circulation
A trip through the ocean on the path of thermohaline circulation, also known as the great ocean conveyor
Past Climate Changes and Uncertainty movie
This movie explains how climate scientists use "fuzzy" proxy records to learn about climates of the past.
Past Matching of Global Temperature and CO2 Levels Video
This video explains how climate records from the past show that changes in temperature and changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide go hand-in-hand.
Rising Sea Levels

In the past century, as the climate has warmed, sea level rise has accelerated. Scientists predict it will only increase, and they're studying changes in the ocean and land to better understand how and why the water is rising.

Satellite Signals from Space: Smart Science for Understanding Weather and Climate
This video explains how COSMIC satellites monitor our atmosphere, collecting data that is used to improve weather forecasts, monitor the upper atmosphere, and understand our climate.
Study Past Climate to Predict Future movie
This movie explains how scientists study past climates to help make better predictions about future climate change.
Supplemental Teacher video for GLOBE Weather Lesson 15
This video on the Coriolis effect is a supplemental teacher resource for Lesson 15, Part 2 of the GLOBE Weather Curriculum. In this lesson, students investigate the question “When air and storms move, why do they curve? Using a balloon and a marker, they create a simple model to observe the Coriolis effect.
Supplemental Teacher video for GLOBE Weather Lesson 5
This video on convection is a supplemental teacher resource for Lesson 5 of the GLOBE Weather Curriculum. In this lesson, students watch a demonstration of warming up and cooling down the air inside a Mylar balloon that has been partially deflated. Students discuss what they think happens to cause the balloon to go up or down.
The Shape of Raindrops

Did you know that raindrops are not shaped like teardrops? They actually look like tiny hamburgers falling through the sky. Watch this video to learn why!

Warming a mylar balloon demonstration
This Warming a Mylar Balloon demonstration illustrates that warmed air molecules rise and cooled air molecules sink.
Warming Water, Rising Seas

You may know that melting glaciers and ice sheets is causing sea levels to rise. Did you also know that the ocean absorbs heat, causing it to expand? Learn more about this process and how it’s impacting coastlines around the planet.

Weather balloon launch
In this video from the U.S. National Weather Service, a scientist explains how weather balloons are used to collect data that improves weather predictions.
A sunny day
This video was captured on Eagle Ridge above Lyons, Colorado near the Front Range of the Rockies by David Niels as part of his research for the Colorado Climate Center. This sunny day video was filmed on April 6, 2017.
A cloudy day
This timelapse video was captured July 4, 2017 on Eagle Ridge above Lyons, Colorado near the Front Range of the Rockies by David Niels as part of his research for the Colorado Climate Center.
What Does Storm Surge Look Like?

NCAR researchers visualizing hurricane impacts created this animation to show how quickly nine feet of storm surge can flood a coastal city.

What Makes a Bomb Cyclone

A bomb cyclone can cause severe winter weather. A bomb cyclone is a storm outside the tropics that has very low air pressure at its center. Bomb cyclones typically occur in the winter and can cause cold and stormy winter weather. Bombogenesis is the process of air pressure falling rapidly, which makes a storm into a bomb cyclone.

What Makes Cities So Hot?

A city can be several degrees warmer than the surrounding area. Learn how this phenomenon, called the urban heat island effect, occurs and find out what can be done to keep cities cool.

What Makes Snowflakes Take Shape

Do you know that snowflakes are different shapes? Their shape depends on air temperature and humidity where they form. Find out why some snowflakes have simple shapes and others are more intricate.

matt kelsch
Meteorologist Matt Kelsch clears up what the terms 100-year, 500-year, and 1000-year flood actually mean.
What's the Polar Vortex

Learn all about the polar vortex and how it causes chilly winter weather in the mid-latitudes when the air circulating around the North Pole wobbles to the south.

What's With Weather Fronts?

A weather front can cause clouds and storms with rain or snow. After a front passes, there might be a change in weather such as cooler air or blue skies. Weather fronts are places where different air masses meet. An air mass is a large area of the troposphere where the air has a similar temperature and moisture. There are different types of fronts. Cold fronts occur where a cold air mass pushes into a warm air mass. Warm fronts occur where a warm air mass pushes up and over a cold air mass.

Why is Ozone So Dangerous?

While ozone high in the atmosphere protects Earth from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, ground level ozone is dangerous to plants and animals. It damages plant leaves and the lungs of animals. Learn more about ozone pollution and how you can help reduce it.

Why the Wind Blows

Learn how air pressure in the atmosphere causes wind as air flows from high pressure to low pressure areas.

Winter Storm Quid
Weather Channel coverage of a winter storm that traveled across much of the U.S. in February 2017.