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

Rep. Reichert joins Dr. Kaspari in her ice core freezer to learn about her work.
(2017-08-14)
In March 2017 American Geophysical Union (AGU) member and climate scientist, Dr. Susan Kaspari participated in Climate Science Day at the U.S. Capitol. The changing policies surrounding the 2016 Presidential Election motivated her to engage more in science policy. As part of that day she met with...
The White House
(2017-07-12)
June 1, 2017 President Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord on Thursday, June 1. The Paris Accord is an internationally recognized agreement through which member countries try to limit global temperature rise and protect countries vulnerable to...
U.S. Capitol with flag
(2017-06-09)
May 3, 2017 Representative John Delaney (D-MD-6) introduced the Climate Solutions Commission Act (H.R.2326), which aims to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, on May 3. Representative Delaney introduced the same bill (H.R.6240) during the previous session of Congress, but it was...
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...

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 Observ.

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 OFR-576; Source: New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources
2015, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR)
In New Mexico, under the pressures of climate change and population growth, demand for water is increasing, and there is mounting evidence that the available water supply may actually be decreasing. While water use conservation efforts are necessary, there is great interest in finding ways to...
Cover of GCCC_DPS06-05; Source: Bureau of Economic Geology
2006, Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG)
The Texas Gulf Coast is an attractive target for carbon storage. Stacked sand-shale layers provide large potential storage volumes and defense-in-depth leakage protection. However, multiple perforations resulting from intensive hydrocarbon exploration and production have weakened seal integrity in...
Cover of fs2016-3008; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has many ongoing and recent water-related natural hazard activities in New England that can be used to help mitigate the effects of natural hazards in cooperation with other agencies. The themes related to potential hazards and the tools and science to better...
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 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 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 image of position statement; Image credit: GSA
2015, Geological Society of America (GSA)
This position statement (1) summarizes the scientific basis for the conclusion that human activities are the primary cause of recent global warming; (2) describes the significant effects on humans and ecosystems as greenhouse-gas concentrations and global climate reach projected levels; and (3)...
Cover of USGS fs2010-3016; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2010, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Resource managers are at the forefront of a new era of management. They must consider the potential impacts of climate change on the Nation's resources and proactively develop strategies for dealing with those impacts on plants, animals, and ecosystems. This requires rigorous, scientific...
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...
Cover image of factsheet Image credit: NGWA
2016, National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
The disposal of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the subsurface via well injection, also known as geologic carbon sequestration or carbon capture and storage (CCS), is one of a portfolio of technologies under consideration as a viable approach to mitigating greenhouse gas buildup. Recognizing that this...