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What Is Climate ChangeWhat Is Climate Change

The Basics

Global warming may be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone say “climate change.” It’s more than just rising temperatures, though. It includes any changes in ice and snow cover, sea level, temperature, rainfall, snow, and wind patterns that last for a long time.

Some climate change is normal for the Earth, due to natural causes such as changes in the Earth’s orbit. Human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, also contribute to climate change. Scientists worry that human activities increase the rate of climate change, which can seriously affect our:

  • Health
  • Economy
  • Crops
  • Water resources
  • Coastlines
  • Energy usage
  • Wildlife
  • Outdoor activities

Did you know ?

When temperatures rise, people use more electricity. This means more fossil fuel is burned. As more fossil fuel burns, more air pollution is created. This can lead to more respiratory (breathing) disease.

Learn More

Explore the links below to learn more about climate change, including what you can do to protect the Earth.

Read About It Read About It

Climate Change and Human Health (Public Broadcasting Services (including their teacher resources)) - Web site that describes how climate change can impact various health conditions and how we can reduce the toxins that cause them.

What's the Difference Between Global Warming and Climate Change? (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration) - An explanation of the difference between climate change and global warming

Climate Change (Tox Town - National Library of Medicine) - Explanation of climate change; links to other government websites on climate change and associated chemicals.

The Effects of Climate Change Today (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) - Information on the effects of climate change over the last 100 years.

Games and Activities Games and Activities

Climate Change Game (British Broadcasting Corporation) - Online game where you are president of the European Nations. You must tackle climate change and stay popular enough with the voters to remain in office.

Climate Kids (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration) - NASA's Eyes on the Earth website has information, activities, and videos for kids on weather and climate, air, oceans, and more.

Global Climate Change (San Francisco Exploratorium) - Website exploring how researchers gather scientific data about the atmosphere, oceans, areas covered by ice and snow, and living organisms.

Welcome To Recycle City (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) - Interactive website exploring how the Recycle City's residents recycle, reduce, and reuse waste; games and activities included.

Videos Videos

A Way Forward: Facing Climate Change (National Geographic) - Documentary outlining the global impact and devastating effects of climate change and presenting scientists’ views.

Climate Change Basics (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) - Video about causes, detrimental global impact of climate change, and activities that can be part of the solution

Take Aim at Climate Change (Passport to Knowledge) - Interactive website, including a video and topics on climate change, polar bears, glaciers, and carbon dioxide.

Cool School Challenge (Pugent Sound Clean Air Agency) - Engages students and teachers in practical strategies to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions school-wide.

Experiments and Projects Experiments and Projects

Earth on Fire (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) - Activity to calculate and compare the amount of CO2 released in the atmosphere by fossil-fuel burning and the actual increase of atmospheric CO2.

For Teachers For Teachers

Climate Change Education (Stanford University) - Curriculum on climate change for the classroom.

Global Warming (PDF, 85.81 KB)(Public Broadcasting Services (including their teacher resources)) - Lesson plans on global warming.