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
(2018-01-04)
December 29, 2017 Following several executive orders issued by President Donald Trump earlier this year to suspend, revise, or rescind regulations or actions that unnecessarily burden the development of domestic energy resources, the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Environmental Protection...
Earth
(2017-09-14)
August 3, 2017 Earlier this year, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed an initiative to challenge mainstream climate science’s consensus on human contributions to climate change through a red team/blue team debate--modeled after a military exercise in which the...
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...

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 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 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 sir20165057; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Many national parks in the American Midwest are surrounded by agricultural or urban areas or are in highly fragmented or rapidly changing landscapes. An environmental stressor is a physical, chemical, or biological condition that affects the functioning or productivity of species or ecosystems....
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,...
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 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 of USGS FS2010-3091; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2010, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are developing comprehensive records of historical and modern coral reef growth and calcification rates relative to changing seawater chemistry resulting from increasing atmospheric CO2 from the pre-industrial period to the present. These records will...
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 of RI_25_12; Source: Kentucky Geological Survey
2014, Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS)
The Kentucky Geological Survey’s Marvin Blan No. 1 well was drilled in east-central Hancock County, Ky. (Figs. 1–2), about 4 mi southeast of the Ohio River, to demonstrate the feasibility of CO2 injection and storage in the Western Kentucky Coal Field, following the mandate and partial funding from...
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...