Earth is warming. Heat waves have become longer and more extreme. Droughts are more frequent in some places. Cold snaps are shorter and milder. Sea levels are rising. Many glaciers and ice caps are melting.
Why is this happening? What impacts will it have? What can we do about it?
Find answers in our interactive Earth Lab exhibit. The following materials are based on reports of the National Research Council and have been vetted for scientific accuracy by a panel of expert advisors.
Climate change is reflected in a host of changes around the globe. See the patterns in Earth’s changing temperatures, weather, glaciers, ice caps, and oceans.
Trends (Interactive & Video)
To compare today’s climate with that of the distant past, scientists use proxy data, which provide indirect evidence of how temperature and other climate properties varied before instrumental measurements became available. Learn more about proxy data.
Climate Processes (Interactive)
Explore how carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases impact global climate processes, causing Earth’s surface temperature to rise.
Trace how humans have influenced climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, and learn why natural processes cannot account for recent temperature changes.
Climate change affects ecosystems, food, the ocean, coasts, society, and weather. Learn about the impacts of climate change and how society and ecosystems might adapt.
Climate scientists have developed sophisticated computer models to estimate future climate change. Learn about how climate models work, how they are tested, and how will our decisions affect climate.
How might societies limit the magnitude of climate change or prepare for its impacts? Consider possible ways to reduce the causes of climate change and adapt to the changes ahead.