Climate

Climate has an enormous impact on society, with wide-ranging effects on public safety and health, the economy, transportation, infrastructure, and agriculture. Geoscientists study our climate's past and present in order to help understand how it may change in the future.

Basics

A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA

Climate is the average of weather conditions over decades to centuries in a particular location.[1] Climate is influenced by many factors, including solar activity, ocean circulation, land cover, and greenhouse gases and aerosols in the atmosphere.[2,3,4,5]   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

American Geosciences Institute
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Latest News

NOAA U.S. Winter Outlook Temperature Map
(2016-10-21)
On October 20, 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its U.S. Winter Outlook, and the updated La Niña forecast took center stage. Mike Halpert, Deputy Director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC), and David Miskus, also of CPC, briefed reporters and...
Screenshot of the Marine Cadastre National Viewer. Image Credit: NOAA, BOEM
(2016-09-30)
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program’s workshop, “Opportunities and Needs in Integrated Water Prediction, Risk Assessment, and Management for Coastal Resilience,” concluded on September 28th, providing insights to coastal scientists and managers on how to better serve their...
Screenshot of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Portal map
(2016-09-29)
On September 27th and 28th, our Critical Issues intern attended a workshop hosted by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program: “Opportunities and Needs in Integrated Water Prediction, Risk Assessment, and Management for Coastal Resilience.” The first day focused on resilience issues...
August 2016 Statewide Precipitation Ranks. Image Credit: NOAA
(2016-09-21)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held their latest Monthly Climate Briefing on September 15, 2016, and we have summarized the highlights for you below: •  August 2016 is the 17th warmest (73.6°F, 1.5°F above average), 2nd wettest August (3.47", 0.85" above average) since...
Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climatic Conditions is a National map of the U.S. that only shows topographic relief. Superimposed on top are symbols for hydroelectric power, nuclear power, oil and gas, coal power, electricity and solar.
(2016-08-04)
#MapOfTheDay! How does climate impact energy? Find out here: http://bit.ly/1Mu6wHO via the Department of Energy twitter account @ENERGY
Satellite image of Hurricane Isabel.  Image Credit: Jacques Descloitres, NASA
(2016-06-27)
June 16, 2016 -The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held their Monthly Climate Briefing telecast on June 16, 2016. The presentations summarized NOAA’s May U.S. and global climate analyses, monthly and seasonal forecasts, and the outlook for La Niña development. The speakers...
NASA hurricane satellite image
(2016-06-27)
June 16, 2016 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held their Monthly Climate Briefing telecast on June 16, 2016. The presentations summarized NOAA’s May U.S. and global climate analyses, monthly and seasonal forecasts, and the outlook for La Niña development. The speakers...
Icebergs in Greeland
(2015-04-06)
Witnesses (with links to opening statements) Admiral Robert Papp U.S. Department of State Special Representative for the Arctic The Honorable Lesil McGuire Alaska State Legislature Representative The Honorable Bob Herron Alaska State Legislature Representative The Honorable Charlotte Brower Mayor...
Icebergs in Greeland
(2015-01-07)
December 17, 2014 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its annual Arctic report card on December 17, which analyzes climatic trends in the region. The report, which is divided into seven topics including sea ice and snow cover extent, tundra conditions, and air and...
Earth
(2014-06-09)
The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing on the process used to compile the most recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The hearing focused on the IPCC Working Group II report, a subset of the 2014 report, which addresses the...

Case Studies

Tornado funnel. Image Credit: NOAA

Defining the Problem Following a tornado, first responders need maps of the width and location (swath) of the damage area. The biggest challenge when integrating remote sensing into disaster response is timeliness. To be most useful, remote sensing imagery maps must reach emergency management...

Pre-Ike (left) and post-Ike (right) ASTER imagery of Galveston Island, the Bolívar Peninsula, and the mainland in August 2006. Healthy (red) and dead (brown) vegetation shows storm surge inundation effects. Image Credit: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Obsevatory

Defining the Problem Hurricanes bring not only intense rainfall, but also high winds and flooding. This flooding is powered by the hurricane storm surge: a rise in coastal sea level caused by lowered barometric pressure and by wind blowing the ocean onto the land. The result is that waves and...

Research Database Publications

Cover of CNR_85_12; Source: Kentucky Geological Survey
2015, Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS)
Understanding potential long-term impacts of CO2 impurities, such as sulfur and nitrogen compounds, on deep carbon-storage reservoirs is of considerable interest because co-injection of the impurities with CO2 can bring significant economic and environmental benefits. The Cambrian-Ordovician Knox...
Cover of Monitoring and Verification Issues for Carbon Storage; Source: Bureau of Economic Geology
2006, Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG)
MM&V is defined as the capability to: measure the amount of CO2 stored at a specific sequestration site, monitor the site for leaks or other deterioration of storage integrity over time, and verify that the CO2 is stored and unharmful to the host ecosystem.
Fig. 1 Image map (top) derived from Landsat TM/ETM+ imagery captured before and after the F3 tornado that hit Siren, Wisconsin, on June 18, 2001. The damage swath is plotted on a cartographic map (bottom) that was used by disaster response personnel
2013, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
Remote sensing imagery is used by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison to support recovery efforts after a tornado.
Understanding EPA's Carbon Sequestration Regulations, Technical Memorandum 4; Source: Wyoming State Geological Survey
2013, Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS)
In recent years, carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been advocated as a means to continue using fossil fuels until carbon-free energy systems are developed while at the same time reducing anthropogenic carbon emissions (IPCC, 2005). CCS entails capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel...
Cover for USGS FS 2013-3110 ; Source: USGS
2014, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Changes to the Earth’s climate—temperature, precipitation, and other climate variables—pose significant challenges to our Nation’s natural resources. Managers of land, water, and living resources require an understanding of the impacts of climate change—which exacerbate ongoing stresses such as...
Cover of pp1826; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
This assessment was conducted to fulfill the requirements of section 712 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and to contribute to knowledge of the storage, fluxes, and balance of carbon and methane gas in ecosystems of Alaska. The carbon and methane variables were examined for major...
Cover of U.S. Geological Survey_2015-1071; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The objective of this report is to provide basic technical information regarding the CO2-EOR process, which is at the core of the assessment methodology, to estimate the technically recoverable oil within the fields of the identified sedimentary basins of the United States. Emphasis is on CO2-EOR...
Cover of fs2016-3052; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Two recent investigations of climate-change vulnerability for 19 terrestrial, aquatic, riparian, and coastal ecosystems of the southeastern United States have identified a number of important considerations, including potential for changes in hydrology, disturbance regimes, and interspecies...
Cover of Agriculture’s Role in Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Capture report: Source: Soil Science Society of America
2010, Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)
Approximately 6% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions originating in the United States (U.S.) come from agricultural activities.1 These gases are in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4). However, by employing proper management techniques, agricultural lands can...
Cover of pp1828; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In the southeastern United States, insular ecosystems—such as rock outcrops, depression wetlands, high-elevation balds, flood-scoured riparian corridors, and insular prairies and barrens—occupy a small fraction of land area but constitute an important source of regional and global biodiversity,...