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 & 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 SIR2013-5114; Source: USGS
2013, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Many wetland impoundments managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Wildlife Refuge System throughout the northern Great Plains rely on rivers as a primary water source. A large number of these impoundments currently are being stressed from changes in water supplies and quality...
Cover of RI_31_12; Source: Kentucky Geological Survey
2014, Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS)
A carbon dioxide injection test well was drilled in 2009 to a depth of 8,126 ft below ground surface in Hancock County, Kentucky. Six hundred ninety tons of CO2 was successfully injected into Knox Group saline aquifers. Two domestic wells (MB and GB) and two domestic springs (CA and RC) were...
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...
Illustration of the Frio Pilot carbon sequestration test; carbon dioxide compressed to a liquid will be pumped into a brine-saturated aquifer in the Frio Formation, a mile beneath the surface. Image Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
2013, Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS)
As part of a larger carbon-capture feasibility study, the Kentucky Geological Survey at the University of Kentucky evaluated five Kentucky coal-burning power-generation stations owned and operated by Louisville Gas and Electric–Kentucky Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corp. This work was undertaken...
Cover image of position statement; Image credit: The Geological Society of London
2015, The Geological Society of London (GSL)
In the run up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 21 scheduled for December 2015, 24 of the UK's foremost academic institutions, including the Geological Society have published a joint Climate Communiqué calling on national governments to take immediate action if they want to avert...
Cover of fs2016-3011; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has actively pursued research in the effects of climate change on the hydrology of New England. Ongoing focus areas of climate change science activities of the USGS in New England include the following: Hydrologic climate-response data (initiating or expanding...
Cover of OFR-577; Source: New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources
2015, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR)
This Working Group was funded by the State Legislature in 2014 to: (1) assess the current status of water supply and demand after years of severe drought in New Mexico; (2) put the current drought into long-term context with reduced surface water, groundwater depletions, and economic activity; and...
Cover of USGS fs2014-3046, Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Karst aquifers—formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone—are critical groundwater resources in North America, and karst springs, caves, and streams provide habitat for unique flora and fauna. Springflow and groundwater levels in karst terrane can change greatly over short time...
Cover of Critical Needs 2016 Report; Source: AGI
2015, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
The geoscience community has the knowledge, experience, and ingenuity to address a wide range of societal needs. We study Earth’s systems, the complex geologic, marine, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that sustain life and the economy. Geoscience expertise allows us to better understand and...
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,...