What causes climate and climate change?

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    • The climate change section features a media wall comprised of 36 high-definition 55-inch screens with “big-picture” messages about climate change. Below them, content panels and interactive stations based on data from organizations including NASA and NOAA (the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) explore three main themes: How Climate Works, Our Warming World, and Consequences of Climate Change.

      Opposite the climate change wall is an exhibit about studying past climates. The large interactive model ice core features a sliding viewer to help visitors make direct connections between how scientists study past climates and present climate to inform our understanding of the climate system and models of how climate will behave in the future. 

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In This Section

How Climate Works

How Climate Works

Movement of heat by the atmosphere and ocean gives rise to climate and weather.

Our Warming World

Our Warming World

Earth is warming, and evidence clearly points to human activity as the cause.

Consequences of Warming

Consequences of Warming

Human activity has added about 2,040 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere since 1750. In response, the planet is warming.

Why Study Past Climate?

Why Study Past Climate?

The study of ancient climate is key to understanding how the climate system works--and how it might change in the future.

Coral Skeleton

Coral Skeleton

Coral reefs record local climate over the corals' lifetimes, including El Niño events.

Wind-carved rock

Wind-carved rock

This ventifact, or wind-carved rock, from the Dry Valleys of Antarctica demonstrates how rocks can be shaped and eroded into sculpture-like forms by erosion and weathering.