Climate

Climate has an enormous impact on society, with wide-ranging effects on public safety and health, the economy, transportation, infrastructure, and agriculture. Geoscientists investigate our climate's past and present to better 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

Latest News

The White House
(2017-04-10)
March 28, 2017 President Donald Trump issued an executive order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” on March 28. The order rescinds several environmental regulations instituted under the Obama Administration. It contains provisions that target various energy sectors, including coal...
Hawaiian flower
(2017-04-10)
March 13, 2017 House Republicans introduced a resolution on March 13 that emphasizes the importance of conservative environmental stewardship for future generations and recognizes the extreme impacts of increased heat waves, precipitation, wildfires, and droughts, as well as rising sea levels. H....
Natural gas pump
(2017-03-24)
February 28, 2017 How should the federal government price carbon in its assessments? This was the topic of debate at a House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on February 28. Witnesses from the Brookings Institute, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and the University of Chicago...
IES Water Glyph
(2017-03-06)
February 3, 2017 Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24) introduced the Ocean Acidification Research Partnerships Act (H.R.845) to investigate ocean acidification on February 3. Ocean acidification has a negative impact upon marine foodstocks, such as crustaceans and mollusks, whose shells dissolve and have...
Earth
(2017-02-07)
January 1, 2017 The National Global Change Research Plan 2012-2021: A Triennial Update was released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program on January 1. This report updates the current national global change research plan. For the first time, federal researchers recommend investment in...
Salt marsh near Pescadero, California
(2017-02-06)
January 30, 2017 On January 30, the House passed Joint Resolutions H.J.Res.38 and H.J.Res.36, expressing disapproval of the Stream Protection Rule and a rule regulating natural gas leaks. These Department of Interior (DOI) regulations are subject to termination under the Congressional Review Act....
Earth
(2017-01-06)
December 12, 2016 The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a briefing on outcomes from the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morocco, which took place November 7-18, 2016. Christo Artusio, Director...
Natural gas pump
(2016-11-29)
November 15, 2016 The Department of the Interior (DOI) released a final rule to cut methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands. According to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, the goal of the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule is to reduce “harmful methane...
Drilling rig
(2016-11-29)
November 16, 2016 The White House released its Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization, which identifies key actions the United States must take to reduce its carbon footprint by 2050. The impetus for the report came last March when the White House released at joint press release detailing...
Icebergs in the Weddell Sea
(2016-10-28)
October 24, 2016 The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.K.-based Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) are partnering to fund $25 million in scientific research to study the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. The research will attempt to shed light on the glacier’s accelerated ice...

Case Studies & Factsheets

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_63_12; Source: Kentucky Geological Survey
2015, Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS)
The purpose of this report is to present a geologic evaluation of the Marvin Blan No. 1 well. Stratigraphy and formation ages in this paper are after Swezey (2009). Appendices 1–61 contain basic well data, seismic data, and core analysis; written reports by others, including the U.S. Environmental...
Cover of USGS_2015-1204; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In the Pacific Northwest, coastal wetlands support a wealth of ecosystem services including habitat provision for wildlife and fisheries and flood protection. The tidal marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays of coastal estuaries link marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats, and provide economic...
Cover of ofr-14-03; Source: Arizona Geological Survey
2014, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
Northeastern Arizona encompasses the southwestern part of the Colorado Plateau, an area of gently dipping to slightly tilted Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata that include porous and permeable sandstone units. The Lower Permian Cedar Mesa Sandstone was identified for study as a potential target for CO2...
Cover of fs2016-3013 ; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey are improving and developing new ground-based remote-sensing instruments and techniques to study how Earth’s vegetation responds to changing climates. Do seasonal grasslands and forests “green up” early (or late) and grow...
Cover of OFR11-02 ; Source: Minnesota Geological Survey
2011, Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS)
Minnesota, with a population of about five million, is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, and a state that is vulnerable to climate change, such as the impact that increased frequency or severity of drought or storms would have on agriculture, water supply, wildlife, lake levels, and...
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
2013, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
Remote sensing imagery guides assessment and remediation of damage caused by Hurricane Ike.
Geological Storage Assessment of CO2 in the Laramide Basins of Wyoming, Wyoming Geological Survey
2013, Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS)
The primary purpose of this technical memorandum is to evaluate and summarize the geologic storage potential of carbon dioxide (CO2) within the Laramide basins of Wyoming. The Laramide basins were formed during a major geologic event known as the Laramide orogeny, approximately 80–55 million years...
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 RI_26_12; Source: Kentucky Geological Survey
2014, Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS)
The objectives of time-lapse 3D-VSP at the Marvin Blan No. 1 research well were to test the feasibility of using well-based 3D-VSP’s to verify the CO2 plume emplacement location (both vertically and horizontally) within the Gunter Sandstone reservoir, Cambrian-Ordovician Knox Group, as well as...