Climate Change main content.

Climate Change

Earth’s climate is naturally dynamic, but human activity is affecting it.

Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve gotten most of our energy from fossil fuels. Burning them releases gases, primarily carbon dioxide, that trap heat in the atmosphere. In the past 100 years, concentrations of this greenhouse gas have grown faster and higher than at any time in the past 850,000 years (and probably much longer), causing global average temperatures to rise. The evidence comes from abundant data collected by many sources over time. We can see it around us in the form of rising sea levels, melting polar ice caps and glaciers, changing ocean chemistry, and more severe heat waves, droughts, and storms. See a full list of Museum resources, programs, and content about climate change here.

Article What's the Big Idea About Climate Change? This isn't the first time Earth's climate has changed, but it's the first time human activity has caused it. Learn more about... Article Rapid Change in a Warming World Climate change isn’t always slow, small, and imperceptible in a human lifetime. Ice core analysis has found a single decade i... Video Keeling's Curve: The Story of CO2 How carbon dioxide’s rise was discovered. Blog Post Making Climate Change Personal in On the Nature of Things A new dance choreographed specifically for the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life aims to bring the implications of climate disrupti... March 12, 2015 Audio Glacial Earthquakes: Using Seismic and GPS Observations to Map Changes in Glaciers and Ice Sheets Worldwide Dr. Meredith Nettles, Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, discusses earthquakes o... December 18, 2014 Video Climate Change in the Marshall Islands How will islanders cope with climate change? Article Rethinking Home: Climate Change in New York and Samoa The American Museum of Natural History and Museum of Samoa has completed a 1-year project to bring together two groups: one i... Blog Post Polar Bear Diet Changes as Sea Ice Melts A series of papers recently published by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History suggests that polar bears in th... January 21, 2014 Audio SciCafe: Islands at the Edge with Jenny Newell and Tina Stege In this SciCafe, Jennifer Newell, curator of Pacific Ethnography, and Tina Stege of the Marshallese Educational Initiative, d... October 23, 2014 Course Keeling's Curve Google+ Hangout In this live online event with atmospheric scientists, learn about the past, present, and future of carbon dioxide in Earth's... Interactive Climate Change: The Multiplier Effect How much can you reduce your carbon dioxide emissions? Is it worth it? Learn how simple choices multiplied by everyone in you... Blog Post Climate Change and Ice Age Vertebrates A Museum-led study reveals that different vertebrate species responded to climate change differently over the last 500,000 ye... December 7, 2016 Blog Post New Models Predict Greener Arctic in Coming Decades Rising temperatures will lead to a massive “greening” of the Arctic by mid-century as a result of striking increases in plant... April 1, 2013 Exhibit What causes climate and climate change? RETIRED Weather is the state of the atmosphere in a region over days and weeks, while climate is the average state of the weather ove... Video Tropical Cyclone Sandy Watch Tropical Cyclone Sandy evolve in NOAA satellite data. Educator Materials GRACE: Tracking Water From Space Data from the GRACE satellites allow scientists to see how fresh water is being redistributed across the continents over time. Special Exhibition Climate Change Explore the science and impact of climate change, and discover how individuals and nations can reduce carbon footprints. October 18, 2008 — August 16, 2009 Educator Materials What Do You Know About Climate Change? Think you're an expert on our changing climate? Test your knowledge with this interactive quiz. Interactive Climate Change: The Multiplier Effect How much can you reduce your carbon dioxide emissions? Is it worth it? Learn how simple choices multiplied by everyone in you... Article Intense Storms Have Become More Common   Course Warm Forecast for Coral Reefs Google+ Hangout In this online event, connect with NOAA coral reef specialists to explore a new data visualization about reef response and re... Video PETM: Unearthing Ancient Climate Change Hot times in Earth's past lend insight to future warming. Video Arctic Sea Ice: The New Normal The Arctic’s frozen waters have entered a radically new state. Audio 23rd Annual Spring Environmental Lecture and Luncheon On April 24, 2013, the Museum hosted its 23rd Annual Spring Environmental Lecture and Luncheon “Islands in a Changing World:... June 14, 2013 Video Storing CO2 to Protect the Climate How a deep-drilling experiment is fighting climate change. Video Archived in Ice: Rescuing the Climate Record Glaciologists are racing to core the largest tropical ice cap before it melts.

Support for the development of Science Topics was generously provided by Sidney and Helaine Lerner, GRACE Communications Foundation.